November 17, 2009 12:00 ET

Media Release/

Who Killed Copenhagen?

Canada's Bloody Fingerprints Found at the Scene

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 17, 2009) - "If the world has truly lost the opportunity for a fair, binding and ambitious climate deal in the Copenhagen negotiations next month, Canada will be one of the countries most to blame," author James Hoggan told the Empire Club today.

"And behind Canada's irresponsible negotiating position is a two-decade-old public relations campaign designed to make us all doubt that climate change is even happening," Hoggan said.

Hoggan, president of the public relations firm Hoggan & Associates and chair of the David Suzuki Foundation and of Al Gore's group, the Climate Project Canada, is author of the controversial new book, Climate Cover-up, which he wrote with investigative journalist Richard Littlemore. The book documents a 20-year fossil fuel industry campaign to deny climate science and delay any government action that might discourage the use of fossil fuel energy.

"In the last 20 years, I have watched one of the most expensive, sustained and, at times, brilliant campaigns of disinformation that I have ever seen," Hoggan told members of the Empire Club during a luncheon at the King Edward Hotel. "Coal and oil energy interests have taken the tactics designed and refined by big tobacco to an outrageous extreme – and one that threatens the whole planet."

For a current example, Hoggan spoke about the radio campaign currently being run by a Calgary oil and gas front group that calls itself the Friends of Science. The radio ads say – incorrectly – that the world is cooling and/or that global warming is caused by the sun and not by human activity. "They can't even decide which bit of disinformation they like better," Hoggan said. "They just want to keep you confused."

Canada's policy – or lack of it – suggests that they are succeeding, Hoggan said. "The Canadian government has been an embarrassing underperformer on this file since the early 1990s. We're going the wrong way, saying that we don't want to meet our emission targets because it might upset our economy. No wonder other world leaders have dismissed the prospects of success in Copenhagen: when rich countries, and leading polluters, like Canada refuse to act, there is no hope of engaging struggling economies in Asia and Africa."

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