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Alberta taking climate message to Washington

Provincial economy working to retool under the strains of lower crude oil prices.

By Daniel J. Graeber
Alberta taking climate message to Washington
Alberta's premier says she's taking a world-class climate leadership message to Washington as the province looks to retool its economy. File Photo by Mohammad Kheirkhah/UPI | License Photo

EDMONTON, Alberta, April 27 (UPI) -- Facing pressure from low oil prices, Alberta's premier said the province is now leading the fight against climate change and taking that message to Washington, D.C.

"Alberta is now at the forefront in the fight against climate change," Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said in a statement. "I am looking forward to taking this important message to Washington, D.C., to showcase our plan and how it helps secure Alberta's place as an attractive place to invest and do business."

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Alberta rolled out a climate action plan this month that aims to use capital raised from extra taxes on gasoline, diesel and natural gas to support the development of renewable energy and other low-carbon developments.

The provincial government said the new levy would in part help put Albertans back to work and add diversity to an economy that relies heavily on oil.

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The nation as a whole is taking the tentative steps toward a low-carbon economy under the leadership of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who in March signed a climate change pact with provincial leaders.

Canada's economy relies heavily on export revenue from oil and natural gas and Alberta, which hosts most of the nation's oil, said it expects its economy will shrink by 1.1 percent this year. The total revenue forecast for the fiscal year of $31.2 billion is $478 million lower than estimated in the budget last year.

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Responding to the strains of a weak energy market, Alberta signed a letter of intent last month with the Bank of Canada to help diversify the regional economy.

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Notley leaves Wednesday for Washington to address low-economic opportunities with the United States. A year ago, her predecessor, Jim Prentice, was in Washington to highlight to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce the potential benefits of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, a cross-border project rejected by the U.S. government earlier this year largely on environmental grounds.

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