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UPDATE: Council congratulates Kent on new climate change module for children

Environment Canada has issued a media release stating, “Canada’s Environment Minister, the Honourable Peter Kent, announced today the re-release of What a Difference a Degree Makes, an elementary school teaching module designed to inform students about causes and impacts of climate change. The module ran successfully for a number of years in the early nineties. The relaunch of What a Difference a Degree Makes is part of a renewed commitment from the Government of Canada to address climate change.”

In response, the Council of Canadians has issued a media release congratulating Minister Kent. Our media release states, “What a Difference a Degree Makes highlights many of the consequences of climate change: global food and water shortages, climate refugees, and extinctions in the natural world. …The cover image of young, crying globe on a melted hockey rink speaks volumes about our government renewing their commitment, and the debt we owe to youth and future generations. Educational programs such as What a Difference a Degree Makes are important, but are not replacements for a strong climate change strategy.”

The Sierra Club Atlantic and the Ecology Action Centre have also issued media releases congratulating the Harper government on this teaching module.

To see the media release – and the surprising visual of the crying globe on a melted hockey rink – on the Environment Canada website, please go to http://www.ec-gov.ca/default.php-news002561.html.

Update – NEWS: Council participates in ‘hoax’ to embarrass Kent on climate change inaction

The Canadian Press reports, “Climate-change activists have once again issued hoax news releases in the name of Canada’s Environment minister in an apparent effort to embarrass the Conservative government. And just as an elaborate ruse by the U.S.-based Yes Men in December 2009 involved a cascade of hoaxes intended to focus attention on Canada’s environmental record, the latest effort drew in a respected advocacy group for progressive causes. …The advocacy group Council of Canadians issued a news release congratulating Environment Canada…”

The Canadian Youth Climate Change Coalition took responsibility for the hoax. And in an email to The Canadian Press, Dylan Penner, a spokesman for the 26-year-old Council of Canadians, acknowledged the advocacy group was in on the joke from the get-go: ‘The council was aware it was a ruse and was supporting the youth involved in it.’ …The political director for the Council of Canadians, Brent Patterson, said the organization has never before been involved in such subterfuge ‘and would certainly use it sparingly’. ‘I don’t think there was any anticipation that people would really believe the initial release and the response,’ Patterson said in an interview. ‘It’s really just trying to use some creative means to try to get the attention of the public and to draw attention to the poor performance of the Harper government on climate change.'”

“A release sent to media outlets used the Environment Canada news template to tout the ‘re-release’ of what it claimed was a two-decade-old teaching tool on climate issues for Canadian students. The teaching unit, called What a Difference a Degree Makes, referred to the cultural influences of climate, including movies such as the Big Chill and musical groups Air Supply, Weather Report and Donna Summer. A follow-up release, also phoney, had Environment Minister Peter Kent denouncing the hoax and calling the teaching unit out of date and no longer reflecting government priorities.”