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The new Conservative government in Ottawa has abruptly stopped funding groups across the country that have been promoting the One Tonne Challenge, the quirky program to persuade Canadians to do their bit to help the environment by cutting their greenhouse gas emissions.

The Conservatives are also reviewing about 100 other climate-change programs set up by the previous Liberal government.

The One Tonne Challenge is likely the best known of the dozens of federal government efforts to fight global warming. It has been heavily publicized through television ads featuring comedian Rick Mercer as pitch man for a program that urged people to drive less, turn down their thermostats and take other steps to forestall climate change.

Environmental groups that received contracts to urge people in local communities to participate in the challenge were hastily contacted by Environment Canada officials earlier this week, and told that as of this morning, their efforts were no longer being funded.

"I received a call [Thursday]from Environment Canada that indicated that as of April 1st, they have no budget or directives to continue funding" local activities for the challenge program, said Stephane Thorson with Toronto's Clean Air Foundation.

The story was similar in Quebec. "We got clear indications from the Ministry of Environment that we cannot publicize the One Tonne Challenge, so all the material we had printed, all the advertisements we had, had to be put on hold," said Hugo Séguin, a member of Equiterre, an environmental group overseeing the program in Quebec.

He said the program hadn't been given a budget for the government's new financial year, which begins today, "so all the projects that are ongoing are stopping on March 31. Nobody knows across the country what is going to happen after that." The group wrote to Environment Minister Rona Ambrose this week asking for clarification about future funding, but hasn't received a reply.

Officials at Environment Canada and Natural Resources Canada, the two government departments that share responsibility for climate change, say they are reviewing all of the approximately 100 different programs run by Ottawa to combat global warming.

"The review hasn't been completed yet and decisions on funding for climate-change programs have not been finalized," said Ryan Sparrow, a spokesman for Ms. Ambrose.

Environmentalists are worried that the new government, which they perceive as being hostile toward actions on climate change, is poised to slash global warming projects set up by the Liberals. The Liberals pledged about $1.1-billion to fight climate change from 2000 to early 2006.

John Bennett, a spokesman for the Sierra Club of Canada, accused the new government of beginning "a campaign of stealth destruction" of the programs by allowing funding to lapse.

Public servants working on climate-change programs are being audited by the Environment Commissioner for a report that is expected in September. There is speculation inside government that the audit's release will provide the Conservatives with the political justification to cut spending in that area.

But Mr. Sparrow said the decision on funding will depend on amounts earmarked to fight global warming in the spring budget. Most of the climate programs were directed to industries.

The One Tonne Challenge was different because it tried to engage individuals in cutting emissions because of their personal activities.

With files from Bill Curry in Ottawa