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Resource ministers send mixed climate message at UBCM

British Columbia's resource ministers touted plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in this province, but also underscored the importance of industries that export our fossil fuels elsewhere.

"Oil and gas is driving the economic progress in our country," said Energy Minister Blair Lekstrom during a resource panel discussion at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention yesterday. "It's a growing industry, and the potential is significant."

On the other hand, Environment Minister Pennner noted that "our greenhouse gas emissions don't recognize borders," and said that with its renewable resources, B.C. is well-positioned to take advantage of emerging carbon markets and cap and trade systems.

"When we're talking millions, tens of millions…hundreds of millions of dollars invested in clean alternative energy sources, there has to be some certainty in the long term, we've developed that here in British Columbia,” said Penner.

Lekstrom also said renewable development in B.C. so far is "the tip of the iceburg," and said the province needs the private sector to take advantage of these resources.

"The government doesn't create jobs," said Lekstrom. "The government creatures an atmosphere for the private sector to bring their money."

He dismissed environmental concerns he's heard about some of this development, saying "I can't imagine, to be honest, a good healthy discussion around run of river projects where people could find a negative."

Minister of State for Climate Action John Yap also participated in the panel. He said that his position is a first for Canadian politics, and that he believes British Columbia's own carbon emissions targets are aggressive enough in the face of global climate change.

Yap said he is "working alongside colleagues" to advance our climate change agenda, but is "not directly involved with the resource sector."


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