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Conservatives add hot air to climate problem in Ontario

  • Published on Apr 17 2007 |
  • This article is tagged as: boreal-forest

TORONTO - Today a leading conservation group criticized the Ontario Progressive Conservatives for its failure to include forest protection in its newly released climate change plan  for Ontario. "Good climate change plans must include forest protection as a complementary strategy to emissions reductions, otherwise we risk building a massive carbon debt by logging the carbon rich Boreal Forest," says Janet Sumner Executive Director, CPAWS Wildlands League.

It is estimated that more than 200,000 hectares of Ontario\'s public forests are logged each year - an area more than three times the size of the entire City of Toronto. By removing the vast amounts of carbon stored in the trees, scientific estimates suggest that these logging and associated disturbance activities release the equivalent of 15 MT of CO2 each year. Protecting the carbon stored in intact Boreal Forest ecosystems must be an important part of any response to global warming.

"Ontario could prevent 7 MT of CO2 from going into the atmosphere by protecting the last vestiges of woodland caribou habitat in the commercial Boreal Forest in the province right now," adds Sumner. "Ontario should also be incorporating a carbon accounting framework into all its resource development decisions. This is an essential component of land use planning before development that is needed in the Northern Boreal Forest."

The Ontario Progressive Conservative\'s climate change plan is hard on targets matching the BC plan 10 per cent by 2020 and 60 per cent by 2050. However, the plan does not provide detailed emission reduction action plans for transportation, housing or any large industrial emitters; choosing instead to focus on what government departments can do to minimize energy use from government buildings and reduce emissions from the government fleet.

The approach favoured by John Tory is also to invite more consultation on sector by sector emission reductions. "This is just adding more hot air to the climate issue in Ontario," says Sumner, "The public wants action not endless consultation on this issue. It is unfortunate Mr. Tory didn\'t use the opportunity to provide leadership on the number one issue for Canadians," Sumner adds.

Hundreds of emission reduction actions have already been identified through two rounds of federal government stakeholder consultations and more again through the provincial government consultations held late last year.

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For more information, please visit www.wildlandsleague.org or contact:
Janet Sumner, Executive Director,
CPAWS Wildlands League,
(416) 971-9453 ext 39 or
416-579-7370 cell