Mathew Jacobson, manager of the International Boreal Conservation Campaign, issued the following statement regarding Monday's commitment from Quebec Premier Jean Charest to reduce emissions by 20 percent of 1990 levels by 2020.
“These greenhouse gas reduction goals, combined with Quebec's commitment to protect at least half of the carbon-rich northern Boreal through the largest sustainable land use planning process in history, set an ambitious course for the province in the battle against climate change. If these commitments are implemented correctly, Quebec can emerge as a leader in combating global warming and could serve as a model for sustainable development.
“By pledging to protect an area the size of France, the Quebec government will keep sequestered the equivalent of 70 years of industrial carbon dioxide emissions in Canada.
“Premier Charest recognizes that an effective response to climate change includes preserving the world's remaining, carbon-rich forests. Quebec has positioned itself among world leaders in the fight against climate change and for the protection of our last intact habitats.”
The Canadian Boreal Forest, stretching from Newfoundland and Labrador to Alaska, is the world's largest intact forest, surpassing the Amazon Rainforest in size, ecological integrity, and carbon storage, holding 22 percent of the carbon on the earth's land surface. More than 20 percent of the woodlands are located in the province of Quebec. In 2007, 1,500 international scientists led by authors for the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recommended that at least half of Canada's Boreal Forest be protected. In March 2009, Premier Charest pledged that 50 percent of the land area covered by his ‘Plan Nord' would be protected from industrial development, and that industrial activity in the other portions would be held to sustainable standards.