Published On: December 6, 2023

Dubai, 6 December 2023:

Today, the international community shamed Alberta for its oil and gas expansion plans, blatant trampling of Indigenous rights, and attempts to drag Canada backward on climate action despite a summer of devastating wildfires.

International civil society awarded Alberta the Fossil of the Day – presented every day throughout COP to the party “doing the most to do the least” on climate action. The Fossil is normally awarded to countries, not subnational governments, and this rare exception shows the particularly egregious nature of Premier Danielle Smith’s actions, including:

  • Coming to COP28 with an entourage of oil and gas executives to promote the continued expansion of her province’s fossil fuel industry and dangerous distractions, while denying the need for fossil fuel phase-out;

  • Failing to inform downstream Indigenous communities of toxic tailings from Imperial Oil’s Kearl Oil Sands leaking into their waters for over nine months;

  • Placing a seven-month moratorium on Alberta’s burgeoning renewable energy sector, taking industry and investors by surprise, despite her pro-business claims;

  • Launching an $8-million advertising blitz to spread misinformation about upcoming federal regulations that would let Canada reach 100% clean electricity by 2030;

  • Fighting tooth and nail against regulations to reduce methane and a forthcoming cap on greenhouse gas emissions from the oil and gas sector, Canada’s highest-polluting industry; and

  • Ignoring the wishes of Albertans who want to reduce dependency on the bust-and-boom fossil fuel industry, a plan for workers, and an emissions cap.

Accepting the satirical award on behalf of Alberta, Dr. Angele Alook of York University, Nehiyaw Iskwew and member of Bigstone Cree Nation in Treaty 8 territory, said: “I don’t think we could have won this award without being the deadliest death economy in all of the world, in all of Canada. We like to poison the water, kill the forests, and violate Indigenous Peoples’ rights.”

“Alberta, we don’t want you to end up like your namesake, the long-extinct Albertosaurus,” Climate Action Network International said in its press release. “Listen to what people in your own province want – a plan to transition from dependency on volatile fossil fuels to the opportunities of clean energy, in a way that protects workers – or you’ll get left behind.”

See photos from the awards ceremony here.

Here’s what other Albertans at COP28 have to say about what their provincial government is doing:

Eriel Tchekwie Deranger, Executive Director, Indigenous Climate Action:

“At a time when there is an overwhelming call to phase out fossil fuels, Alberta continues to approve projects with fifty to sixty-year life cycles, many of which will not even go online until 2026. Smith’s government continues to hedge bets on techno-fixes that are unproven, untested, and do nothing to reduce emissions at source. Smith is here at COP, greenwashing her government’s actions within Alberta and pushing false solutions set to continue business as usual in the tar sands while lining the pockets of corporations. In this so-called era of truth and reconciliation, Smith’s actions within my province can only be described as cultural genocide to Indigenous communities like my own.”

Kg Banjoko, Government relations and consultation coordinator, Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation:

“Alberta won this award for a reason, one of them being the willful neglect of the growing liability of the tailings ponds in our territory. It not only demonstrates their inability to responsibly regulate industry, it’s an example of the Province’s failure to uphold its fiduciary responsibility to Indigenous communities like ACFN who are gravely impacted by their lack of action. For over 6 decades, we have watched our lands being trampled on and we are tired of dealing with broken promise after broken promise. Our lands, water and people deserve better than what Alberta has to offer.”

Bronwen Tucker, Public Finance Lead, Oil Change International:

“As a community organizer in Edmonton, I have spoken to thousands of people in our province who know oil and gas companies do not care about us, only their bottom line. People in Alberta want a renewable future free of wildfires & a boom and bust economy, but our political leaders tell us our only choice is more oil and gas.”

Dr. Joe Vipond, Past-President, Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment:

“I think Alberta, if it were here, would of course thank its fellow nominees, for trying to be the worst of the climate destroyers. But a combination of renewables moratorium, mistruthful advertising on clean electricity, fighting methane reductions and the emissions cap, and pure persistence at trying to prolong fossil fuels effect on the planet, pushed us to the front today. I sincerely hope, as someone who loves my province, and my planet, that we start to engage on sensible climate policy, as the world could use our intellect and solar and wind resources to make the world a better, not worse, place.”


Canada’s farthest-reaching network of organizations working on climate and energy issues, Climate Action Network – Réseau action climat (CAN-Rac) Canada is a coalition of 150 organizations operating from coast to coast to coast. Our membership brings environmental groups together with trade unions, First Nations, social justice, development, health and youth organizations, faith groups and local, grassroots initiatives.

For more information or to arrange an interview, contact:

Vicky Coo, Communications Manager, 613-203-3272

Photo credit: Konrad Stotnicki