Climate change tops Stelmach’s agenda

The Alberta government will be seen and heard at this fall’s international conference on reducing greenhouse gases in Copenhagen.

Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach

The Alberta government will be seen and heard at this fall’s international conference on reducing greenhouse gases in Copenhagen.

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney made the announcement Monday following a meeting between Conservative cabinet ministers and Premier Ed Stelmach.

“Alberta will have a key role as part of the Canadian delegation — not just to listen but to share its voice and its views at the Copenhagen climate conference this fall,” Kenney said following the day-long meeting.

“We both underscored the importance that funds are involved in the climate change issue stay as much as possible here in the province of Alberta to finance technological advancements that can reduce carbon emissions.”

The issue is also expected to be on the agenda at the G8 meeting in Italy later this week to be attended by Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

The G8 summit is considered a crucial opportunity for leaders of the world’s most industrialized countries to make breakthroughs on a new global climate deal as a deadline draws nearer.

The 2007 meeting in Bali set a two-year deadline for a global agreement on climate change and pledged to complete a new UN climate treaty in Copenhagen in December to follow up on the Kyoto Protocol that expires in 2012.

Both Alberta and the federal government believe the key is to reduce greenhouse gases by using technology such as carbon capture, which is also favoured by the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama.

Stelmach, who has been critical of the Harper government for not speaking up for Alberta’s oilsands, said he is pleased with Monday’s meeting.

“I’m very pleased Minister (Jim) Prentice and the federal caucus recognize that with respect to climate change and some of the issues, we would like to be consulted as we’re building the policy and also with the negotiations in Copenhagen,” Stelmach said.

“That is good news for Albertans and once again underlines the tremendous importance of the energy industry to the economy of Canada. ”

“From Alberta’s view, we need to be very clear on the cost of regulating carbon dioxide. These costs are not just to industry but also in particular to the consumer.”

Members of the two governments also discussed infrastructure, the economy, health care and the challenges faced by agricultural producers because of drought.

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