Alberta endorses calls for pan-Canadian climate change action

Tue Jul 14, 2015 1:01pm EDT
 
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By Mike De Souza

CALGARY, July 14 (Reuters) - The leader of the oil-rich Canadian province of Alberta is endorsing calls from her counterparts to strengthen action to fight climate change.

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said on Tuesday that her government would sign a declaration made in April by other provinces that agreed to work together to press the federal government to take an "ambitious" position at an international climate change summit in Paris at the end of 2015.

Alberta's oil sands industry is the fastest growing source of carbon-dioxide emissions in Canada. The province is also the largest source of U.S. oil imports, but it has faced international criticism from environmental groups that accuse it of weak oversight of producers.

Environmentalists have targeted the oil sands industry through campaigns to block major infrastructure projects such as TransCanada Corp's Keystone XL pipeline to the U.S. Gulf Coast and its proposed Energy East pipeline to Eastern Canada.

Notley's recently elected left-leaning New Democratic Party government boosted the cost it charges producers for excess greenhouse gas emissions in June, explaining that it needed to demonstrate it was taking climate change seriously.

Other Canadian provinces signed on to calls for stronger action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and shift to a low-carbon economy during a summit hosted by Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard in April. Alberta, which was in the middle of an election campaign, did not attend that meeting.

"We made a point of saying that we agreed with the principles that were in that declaration and were pleased to sign onto them," Notley told reporters on Tuesday, following a meeting with Couillard in Quebec City.

She also said she discussed the Energy East pipeline with Couillard and invited him to lead a Quebec business delegation to Alberta later this year to pursue their talks. (Reporting By Mike De Souza; Editing by Bernard Orr)