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Canada wins Fossil of the Year Award in Durban – our 5th Colossal Fossil in a row

Durban, South Africa, December 9, 2011 – Today, Canada was awarded the dubious honour of the Fossil of the Year award for the 5th year running at the UN climate change conferences. Canadians were on hand at COP17 in Durban, South Africa to accept the award, and to pass it on to the next worst offender in recognition that Canada's actions have become so egregious that they have been left behind, on the sidelines of global climate progress.

"The inaction of the Canadian government has led the country to be described as cowardly and even as a pariah in the context of these negotiations. Canada's participation in the United Nations' fight against climate change is no longer considered relevant," says Patrick Bonin, climate and energy director for the Association québécoise de lutte à la pollution atmosphérique (Quebec association against air pollution). "The Harper government should respect that the majority of its population recognizes the urgent need to fight against climate change and wants to be part of the solution – not the problem."

The decision to pass on the fossil to the United States comes as civil society groups have found internal Canadian government documents that note with the "ever increasing aggressiveness" of environmental campaigns in 2010, "getting daily 'Fossil Awards' on the margins [of the] Conference may be the least of our concerns." Documents date from just before the last climate negotiations in Cancun, Mexico.

"The revelations from the CBC regarding the meetings of Canada's Environment Minister, indicating that since his appointment he has met with more representatives of oil and gas companies than he has with environmental groups, speaks volumes about who dictates the Harper government's decisions regarding climate change," says Steven Guilbeault, deputy executive director of Equiterre and co-chair of Climate Action Network International. 

The Fossil award was accepted by two young Inuit, Jordan Konek and Curtis Kuunuaq Konek, after which a moment of silence was observed for Canada.

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For an interview with Steven Guilbeault of Equiterre
Émilie Vallières

Patrick Bonin
Association québécoise de lutte contre la pollution atmosphérique (AQLPA)
Cellphone in Durban: 011 27 72 79 51 146

Hannah McKinnon
Climate Action Network Canada
+27 (0) 741796151