12/09/2015 03:15 EST | Updated 12/09/2016 05:12 EST

Paris Climate Talks: Canada Earns 'Fossil' Tag Despite Good Intentions

This isn't what the new environment minister had in mind.

OTTAWA — This clearly wasn't what federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna had in mind when she told delegates to the Paris climate conference that "Canada is back."

The Climate Action Network International awarded Canada a second place "fossil of the day" award today at the COP21 climate summit, citing the reluctance of Canadian negotiators to have compensation for weather destruction in poor countries included in the final Paris agreement.

The previous Conservative government was the object of much opposition derision when it was routinely labelled with the "fossil" tag at climate summits.

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna delivers the keynote address at the Canada 2020 conference. (Photo: Justin Tang/CP)

In 2013 at the UN-sponsored COP19 in Warsaw, the Canadian government was handed a "lifetime unachievement award" for what environmentalists said was obstructionist behaviour.

The new Liberal government came to office last month promising a renewed national priority on combating climate change, with both Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and McKenna winning international plaudits for providing Canada with a new perspective.

However, several sticking points remain in the final text for a Paris agreement, including whether the world's developed countries should be liable for climate-change-related damage to some of the poorest and most vulnerable countries on the planet.


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