Just eight days after Canada criticized U.S. withdrawal from the Paris climate accord, the Trudeau government invited China to invest billions to revive massive oil fields in the northwestern part of the country.
Canada’s Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr hopes that Chinese investment into oil sands development will reboot the struggling sector after losing $22.5 billion in foreign capital in the last six months, Reuters reported.
“We think there are opportunities and we laid out, along with experts from industry, what we believe to be opportunities for them,” Carr told reporters on a Thursday conference call.
“We would welcome investment from any nation that’s interested in the oil sands,” Carr said. “The trend of capital flows over the last little while has been international investors have been looking at their opportunities and decided to spread their resources, whereas Canadian investors have stepped up.”
Alberta’s oil sands reserves are the third largest in the world, but aren’t economical to produce at $50 a barrel. Oil sands have also been targeted by environmental activists bent on keeping fossil fuels in the ground.
In fact, the Obama administration denied the building of the Keystone XL pipeline on the grounds it would tarnish America’s image as a leader in the fight against global warming. Keystone XL would have shipped Albertan oil sands to Gulf Coast refineries.
Carr’s call for Chinese investment comes after both Canada and China criticized Trump’s withdrawing from the Paris Agreement. Paris is a non-binding agreement in which countries pledge to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
Trump said the Paris accord would hurt the U.S. economy, but most world leaders lashed out at the decision, including Canadian and Chinese leaders.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that Canada is “unwavering in our commitment to fight climate change and support clean economic growth” after U.S. President Donald Trump announced he would withdraw from the Paris Agreement last week.
China is the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitter and largest consumer of energy, including coal and oil. The country is expected to use more coal in the coming decades, and only pledged to “peak” emissions by 2030 as part of the Paris accord.
China called Trump’s decision a “global setback” in the fight against global warming.
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