2010-01-08

Pine beetles transform B.C. forests into greenhouse enemy

In a single season, an army of pine beetles has transformed our allies in the battle against climate change into the enemy.

Now the province is in a race against nature, as one billion beetle-killed trees across the province slowly seep the greenhouse gases they had so generously stored up in their decades of growth.

Such a turnaround seemed unimaginable back in February, 2008, when Premier Gordon Campbell first seized on the value of B.C.'s forests in his campaign against global warming. Trees lock away carbon dioxide, and the province has a lot of them – 60 million hectares of forests. They seemed to offer a natural, elegant means of reducing greenhouse-gas emissions.