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Bali conference on climate change sparks action in Quebec

The Quebec government has launched a $350-million green action plan, which includes plans to replace industrial and...


The Quebec government has launched a $350-million green action plan, which includes plans to replace industrial and institutional “hot air” generators and cooling systems. The announcement was made to coincide with the United Nations meeting on climate change held in Bali, Indonesia beginning December 7.
The Quebec program includes $38 million to encourage projects to capture and transform methane gases and $100 million to research technologies to store carbon dioxide. The sum of $75 million will go for reducing greenhouse gases in goods transportation. The rest is earmarked for helping municipalities develop greenhouse gas reduction plans and for improvements to the province’s monitoring network. Quebec is to direct funds from federal transfer payments to the new green fund for these programs.
At the U.N. conference in Bali, delegates from 30 countries including Canada were focusing on ways of providing incentives for developing countries to limit their growth of greenhouse gas emissions. Following the meeting of trade ministers on the weekend, about two dozen-finance ministers stayed on to chart ways of developing the financial incentives. Yvo de Boer, the Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, said that a financial response was the “oil that will make the machinery run.” He said that investments of around $20 trillion will be needed by 2030 to meet the world’s need for energy, and said that half of that demand would be from developing countries.
A new report by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) was released at the conference showing that renewable energy technologies like wind and solar were continuing strong double-digit growth in 2007. The REN21 Renewables Global Status Report 2007 says that out of a total global power capacity of 4,300 Gigawatts, renewable energy (not counting large hydro plants) now provides 240 GW of power. The UN called on governments to set binding targets and to “send market signals that accelerate the use of renewable energy even further.”
On December 8 at Bali coalition of Canadian and U.S. conservation groups and First Nations presented a new map to emphasize how critical Canada’s boreal forest is as a carbon sink. The boreal forest stores almost twice as much carbon per unit area as tropical forest, said the activists on the International Boreal Conservation Campaign. Canada’s permafrost, which is included as part of the Boreal Forest, occupies about 50 per cent of Canada’s total land area.
The UN meeting in Bali was aimed at framing a successor agreement to the Kyoto Protocol for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, which is set to expire in 2012. Between 1990, the year the Kyoto Protocol was launched, and 2005, Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions increased by 54%, taking into account land use and forestry factors. Excluding land use and forestry factors, the country’s emissions over the same period grew by 25%.