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Environment Canada says that global warming is harming Canada now. As a result the federal department is seeking a mix of voluntary, regulatory and economic measures to meet Canada's international greenhouse gas reduction commitments. Environment Canada's advocacy may help realise the benefits of renewable energies like wind power. The issue has come to a head after Environment Minister Sheila Copps warned that Canada's excessive forest fires in recent years are caused in part by global warming. "This summer's devastating fires are reminders of what we can expect in future if we don't collectively adopt a global warming action plan," she said (Toronto Globe and Mail, July 10). Fears are that Canada and other countries are already on a treadmill where forest fires enhance the greenhouse effect, which contributes to more forest fires. The Atmospheric Environment Service reports that the warmest years in Canada since 1861 have been 1981, 1983, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, and 1994. Many of these years coincide with the highest Canadian forest losses to fire. Copps said she plans to table Canada's national plan to stabilise CO2 emissions in October. Many hope that such a plan will include new initiatives to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies.

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