to curb emissions, protect the forests - carbon dioxide absorbent
The cap and trade plan published in the Ontario budget is an important and concrete step in strengthening the economy while achieving the province's greenhouse gas emission reduction targets.
It will generate significant revenue to stimulate the development of clean new technologies and create jobs and economic benefits in the growing global climate market
But our provincial leaders should think more widely.
If billions of dollars in expected caps and some of the trade revenues are also used to support healthy forests, complex wetlands, climate, governments can make significant progress in tackling climate change
Friendly agricultural practices and other large amounts of biomasscovered land.
All plants absorb and preserve carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas that causes climate change.
That's why plants
Rich areas are sometimes called carbon sinks.
Carbon sink is a way for nature to process excess carbon in the atmosphere by absorbing and storing it.
When the land is cleared and trees or vegetation is removed or burned, the carbon is released back into the atmosphere.
The United Nations estimates that approximately greenhouse gas emissions are the result of the destruction of wetlands, forests and plant habitats in freshwater and marine systems.
By ensuring the health and protection of these features, we help address climate change while preserving the precious habitat of wildlife.
We also protect biodiversity, which is threatened by habitat loss due to human activity and climate change.
There are real reasons to worry in Ontario.
Four years ago, the province's Ministry of Natural Resources issued a report that offered little comfort to those of us who are working to address climate change in the province, in the country and globally.
The report on forest conditions in Ontario included a frustrating news that our official forest is expected to be a net source of carbon between 2010 and 2030.
This is because forests currently include many old forests with high levels of carbon.
With the death of trees, they release carbon instead of absorbing it.
Reports that only young trees mature will make the forest a carbon sink again are expected to start happening one month after 2040-
Forests are neither a source of carbon nor a year of exchange.
At the same time, they will not help clean the carbon in the atmosphere as the forest should do, but will become a net contributor to the growing problem of greenhouse gas emissions in 20 years.
Therefore, candles of climate change burn at both ends.
On the one hand, we continue to emit more carbon.
On the other hand, we can do more to protect plant life that absorbs excess carbon to prevent it from contributing to climate change.
By providing some cap and trade revenue for wildlife and natural habitat conservation and emission reduction, Ontario has the opportunity to set a good example for how to deal with both ends of the candle.
Other places are already doing good work in these areas.
For example, in the Greater Mekong region of Southeast Asia, the World Wildlife Fund and partners are stopping deforestation and protecting species diversity in a forest area covering more than 200,000 hectares.
Last month in the southern African region, with the support of the World Wide Fund for Nature, seven new wetland areas were designated as protected areas, bringing the number of protected hectares to more than 100 hectares
There is sufficient evidence that we need to adopt similar projects in Canada.
The Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change reported a significant decrease in forests in northern Canada, which could be linked to warmer and longer summer months. Arctic and sub-
The Arctic ecosystem is considered to be most vulnerable to climate change, as the impact could turn the Arctic region from a net carbon sink to a net carbon source.
Speaking on the government's cap and trade plan, Ontario Prime minister Catherine Wayne told reporters, "The cost of doing nothing is high, much higher than the cost of the future and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
"There is no doubt about this.
However, if we do not adopt a comprehensive approach to carbon reduction, we will also pay for it.
David Miller is the chairman and CEO of WWF Canada and former mayor of Toronto.