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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 March 2007, 15:24 GMT 16:24 UK
Fighting climate change in BC
Vancouver skyline, Canada
Crossing Continents
Thursday, 5 April 2007
1102 BST on BBC Radio 4

British Columbia is planning to implement the toughest measures to combat climate change in North America.

The Canadian province is already feeling some effects of global warming.

A tropical fungus, cryptococcus gattii, has made over 170 people very ill, and eight patients have died from it.

Scientists cannot be sure what has caused the fungus to thrive in temperate British Columbia, but they point the finger at global warming.

The residents of British Columbia are known for being the most environmentally-aware Canadians, and the most interested in outdoor activities in nature.

And now the premier of the province, Gordon Campbell, has announced a target of cutting carbon emissions by 33% by 2020.

This is the toughest in North America.

He also wants 90% clean energy, and to convince people to live in smaller houses that are more energy-efficient.

So far, these are targets for the future.

But the city of Vancouver is already pioneering an "eco-density" project now.

It is building 1,100 housing units to the highest environmental standards.

The site will also include the Olympic village for the 2010 Winter games.

There is a stain on the area's green image though: the Gateway motorway expansion project in Greater Vancouver.

Campaigners argue that it will push Co2 emissions up considerably, as more motorway lanes will attract more cars.

They accuse the premier of hypocrisy. But he argues that the extra motorways will reduce congestion, and therefore help the environment.

Can politicians square the circle of cutting CO2 emissions without losing votes through measures that might threaten economic development?

BBC Radio 4's Crossing Continents was broadcast on Thursday, 5 April 2007 at 1102 GMT.

It was repeated on Monday, 9 April 2007 at 2030 BST.

Presenter: Julian Pettifer
Producer: Arlene Gregorius
Editor: Sue Ellis


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