Trudeau: growth and environmental protection go together

Trudeau: growth and environmental protection go together

Rita Lofano
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The importance of environmental protection and technology, the introduction of a carbon tax for Canada and investments on energy projects, were the fulcrum of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's talk, that got a big following at CeraWeek

"One can and one should" combine development of energy resources with environmental protection, stated Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, speaking on stage at CeraWeek, where he was greeted like a rock star. "In the 21st century, Canadians cannot accept having to choose between a clean planet and development and a strong economy," the Canadian Prime Minister stressed, pointing out how Canada is continuing to extract oil and gas, how she is continuing to build pipelines, all the while reducing pollutant emissions and developing green energy. "No country that finds 173 billion barrels of oil leaves it below ground. Our resources will be developed," he assured. But "there will come a day, a long way off, but inevitable, when conventional sources of energy will no longer be necessary - he warned - and to prepare for that day we have two important responsibilities: protect our planet until then, in order to hand it down to our children better than how we found it, and get ahead in innovation. In Canada we are doing just that."

Carbon tax and pipelines "hand in hand"

Canadian companies, noted Trudeau, are leaders in carbon capture and sequestration, in the production of next-generation biofuels, batteries for electric cars and extraction processes with cleaner oil sands. It's like when you go "camping and light the fire before it gets dark: This does not mean that we are against sunlight. With energy it’s  a bit like the same thing. The fact of innovating, pursuing renewables, does not in any way compete with the more traditional sources of energy. It's common sense. It's a wise way to prepare for the future." In 2016 Trudeau introduced a carbon tax that, starting next year, will amount to 8 dollars for every tonne of carbon emitted, and which will rise to 40 dollars by 2022. Coal fired power plants will be banned by 2030. "At the same time we are ready to launch 3 new pipeline projects that will help join our oil in Canada with the energy markets of the world," he stressed. This is the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain project - from Alberta to the Pacific, the Keystone XL Line - from Alberta to Texas, and the Enbridge Line 3. "These ambitious projects go a long way towards ensuring energy security in North America for many years to come," he said. For his policies, CeraWeek's IHS Markit assigned Trudeau the Global Energy and Environment Leadership Award, which was presented to him by the master of ceremonies and creator of the conference, Daniel Yergin.

The importance of Canadian resources

"For the US economy nothing is more essential than a safe and reliable supply of energy," warned Trudeau. Canada has the third largest oil reserves in the world and accounts for over 40% of American imports of crude oil. "We supply you with more electricity and uranium than any other country," he said, referring to the US.

The US and Canada "have the most successful trade relations in the world, that support millions of jobs for the middle class in both countries," he insisted, "and these relations are strategic as well as economic." Last year Canadian business with the state of Texas alone, said Trudeau, was worth 35.1 billion dollars. Exports from the Lone Star State to Canada totalled approximately 20 billion dollars in 2016, while exports from Canada amounted to 15 billion. "This translates into thousands of good jobs in Texas, dear friends, 460,000, not bad," he said, thus sending an indirect message to Trump. "We are the number one customer of two-thirds of American States – he added - and among the first three customers of 48 States."

The quip about Trump

"We're Canadians, we get along with everyone." This is how Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau replied when asked about his meeting with US President Donald Trump, who received him at the White House last February 13.