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Canada's Trudeau sees low-carbon opportunities

Prime minister says the economy can find balance between climate and fossil fuels.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |   Jan. 21, 2016 at 7:56 AM
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DAVOS, Switzerland, Jan. 21 (UPI) -- The Canadian economy can strike the right balance between heavy oil and natural gas and the need to address climate change, the prime minister said.

"We can fight climate change without sacrificing growth and prosperity," Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. "In fact, our global push toward a low-carbon economy will produce new companies, new growth, and new prosperity."

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Canada's economy relies heavily on the energy sector and nearly all of its oil and gas exports target a U.S. market less dependent on foreign reserves because of the shale boom. Lower export revenue and even lower crude oil prices are hurting exporting economies like Canada's.

Trudeau became prime minister after the Liberal Party in Canada won national elections in October, pushing the Conservative Party led by Stephen Harper into the opposition. As prime minister, Harper had tried to expand Canada's energy reach outside of North America at the same time as lobbying in favor of new oil infrastructure, like the Keystone XL oil pipeline planned through the United States.

Trudeau, however, positioned himself as a leader for change. In an inaugural address last year, the prime minister said he was committed to fighting climate change and protecting the Canadian environment.

At an economic summit of G20 leaders in Turkey in November, Trudeau said dedicated funding for green infrastructure as one of the foundations of a new economy. Describing the next economic era as one based on technology, the prime minister said striking the right balance will ensure Canada's financial success.

"Our natural resources are important, and they always will be," he said. "But Canadians know that what it takes to grow and prosper isn't just what's under our feet, it's what between our ears."

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