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Canadian province targets 10% cut in greenhouse gas emissions

Newfoundland and Labrador province is trying to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 10% over the next few years as part of a sweeping plan to boost economic growth.

Dubbed "The Way Forward: A Vision for Sustainable Growth in Newfoundland and Labrador," the plan sets a road map for redesigning the provincial government in order to address economic, social and fiscal challenges, some of which were "exposed" by a drop in oil prices. The information the government gathered for the report will be used to develop a "climate change action plan," with the goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions 10% below 1990 levels by 2020.

"Climate change is a shared challenge that requires governments, businesses, industries, communities and individuals to all play a role," Perry Trimper, the minister of environment and climate change, said in a news release. "We have already taken key steps and have committed to increased action to close the gap to this target."

The government will attempt to cut emissions while at the same time trying to position the province as a "preferred location" for oil and gas development. It plans to appoint liaisons to work with the oil and gas industry, as well as companies in the mining and renewable energy sectors.

The climate plan is scheduled for release this fall.

Provincial government-owned utility Nalcor Energy Corp. is building an 824-MW hydroelectric facility in Labrador called Muskrat Falls (Lower Churchill Project) along with both alternating-current and direct-current transmission lines to move electricity to the island of Newfoundland. A portion of the electrical output will be sold to Nova Scotia. In its November 2016 update, Nalcor said incurred costs to date totaled nearly C$6 billion out of an estimated budget of more than C$9.1 billion.