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Canada received the dubious “Fossil of the Day” award on the first day of the COP 15 climate change summit in Copenhagen. The award is given to the country that does the most to block progress on reaching a meaningful accord in Copenhagen. The “winner” is selected by 400 environmental organizations at COP 15.

The first day, Canada was centred out for its unwavering commitment to stand firm in its inaction throughout these negotiations. At a speech in Montreal last Friday, Environment Minister Jim Prentice said that he “won’t be swayed by the Copenhagen hype.”

But if there’s one country that desperately needs to be swayed, it’s Canada. Since announcing its emissions target in 2007 of reducing GHG emissions by 20 per cent below the 2006 emission level (equivalent to 3 per cent below the 1990 level), the Harper government has consistently refused to adopt any regulatory framework to start reducing emissions, namely from the rapidly growing oil sands.

The second day – December 8 – Canada faired almost as bad, being among a group of non-European Union industrialized countries dubbed the “Umbrella Group” that were awarded second place for the Fossil award.

The Umbrella Group finished in second place today for their practice of subsidizing the coal and oil and gas industries, thereby perpetuating fossil fuel use and the greenhouse gas emissions that result.

Canada “won” Fossil of the Year in both 2007 and 2008.

CUPE will be active in Copenhagen demanding better from our federal government. Our shameful record on climate change under Stephen Harper’s Conservative government is nothing to be proud of.

Read more about Copenhagen at cupe.ca/copenhagen-2009