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Canada Reaffirms Emissions Cutting Targets After Hoax News

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The Canadian government on Monday expressed anger at a series of hoax press releases about it boosting emissions-cutting targets, and reaffirmed that it would maintain its original goal.

A series of fake press releases and news stories began to circulate earlier in the day at the UN Copenhagen climate change conference, with the first saying Canada has decided to cut emissions until 2020 by 40 percent below 1990 levels, compared with its original plan to cut only three percent.

The press release, purported to be from Canada's Environment Minister Jim Prentice, said Canada made the decision after the G77bloc of developing countries walked out of the climate change conference to protest the developed countries.

It also provided links to a fake website designed to mirror the appearance of the Environment Canada website. Its address was at and not, the actual address of the ministry.

Two fake releases followed, with the first claiming that a member of the Ugandan delegation praised Canada's decision and the second, purporting from the Canadian government, condemned the previous two releases were fake ones but only put Canada's environmental policies in a poor light.

Dimitri Soudas, a spokesman from the Canadian Prime Minister's Office who is attending the climate change conference in Denmark's capital, condemned the emails as being "childish pranks."

"If that's the case, time would be better used by supporting Canada's efforts to reach an agreement instead of sending out hoax press releases," Soudas told reporters in an email.

"More time should be dedicated to playing a constructive role instead of childish pranks," he added.

Environment Canada has also confirmed that all the emails sent to major news outlets were fake.

Canada "remains committed to reducing Canada's total greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent from 2006 levels by 2020, and 60-70 percent by 2050," a spokeswoman for the government agency said.

(Xinhua News Agency December 15, 2009)

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