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Last Updated: Monday, 12 February 2007, 18:59 GMT
Canada pledges $1.3bn green fund
Canada's PM Stephen Harper
Mr Harper wants to boost his government's environment record
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has announced C$1.5bn (US$1.3bn, 656m) in new funds to combat climate change.

The money will be available to provincial governments to spend if the Conservative government's upcoming budget is passed by parliament.

The Conservatives have been criticised for not doing enough on environmental issues since being elected to a minority government in January 2006.

If the budget is not passed, an election is triggered automatically.

The federal budget is expected to be delivered in March.

Recent opinion polls have indicated that climate change is a top issue for voters.

Kyoto commitment

Mr Harper said the funds would be available equitably to all provinces.

"We'll be financing the same type of projects in all the provinces and territories," Mr Harper said.

"The obligation to reduce pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions must be standard across the provinces. But the solutions have to be adapted to their specific circumstances," he said.

Arctic ice in Lancaster Sound, Nunavut, Canada
Polls indicate the environment is a top priority for Canadians
Canada signed up to the Kyoto Protocol in 1998, agreeing to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to 6% below 1990 levels by 2012.

A 2006 government environment audit found emissions had increased to 27% above 1990 levels.

Mr Harper announced the new funds in Quebec, standing alongside the provincial premier Jean Charest.

Quebec is due to receive about $300m of the cash.

Mr Charest's pro-Canada Liberal Party faces the separatist Parti Quebecois in a provincial election widely expected to be called for late March.

A Parti Quebecois victory could trigger a third referendum in mostly French-speaking Quebec on separating from Canada.

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