February 12, 2008 / 11:56 PM / 12 years ago

Canadian province enlists trees in climate fight

A cyclist rides past cherry trees in full bloom during an early spring day in Vancouver, British Columbia March 12, 2006. Canada's westernmost province plans to recruit its vast forests to help in the battle against climate change, with the goal of no net deforestation by 2015, British Columbia said on Tuesday. REUTERS/Lyle Stafford

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Reuters) - Canada’s westernmost province plans to recruit its vast forests to help in the battle against climate change, with the goal of no net deforestation by 2015, British Columbia said on Tuesday.

The province will also use its planned Pacific Carbon Trust to offer carbon offsets for purchase by private citizens, companies or other governments, the Liberal government government of Premier Gordon Campbell told the legislature in its annual policy speech.

It marked the second consecutive year the government had used the Speech from the Throne to focus on climate change. Last year Campbell promised the province would but emissions of greenhouse gasses 33 percent by 2020.

British Columbia’s huge forest regions produce about half of Canada’s softwood lumber exports, but the province also has to increase the number of trees it plants annually in urban areas such as Vancouver, the speech said.

The trees, which naturally trap carbon dioxide, would be planted in schoolyards, parks and other public spaces.

“Those new trees will help clean out air and lock away carbon dioxide that would otherwise contribute to global warming,” the government said.

British Columbia also renewed its pledge to join a regional cap and trade system on carbon emissions with U.S. states and other Canadian provinces, but did not say if it plans to enact a carbon tax.

More information on a carbon tax may be release next week, when the provincial budget for the 2008-2009 fiscal year is unveiled.

Reporting Allan Dowd, Editing by Rob Wilson

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