Edmonton

Teen climate activist Greta Thunberg of Sweden 'doesn't understand' Alberta, environment minister says

Alberta's environment minister says Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg "doesn't understand" the province, and signalled the government won't be laying out the welcome mat for the 16-year-old's upcoming visit.

UCP government has no plans to contact Thunberg ahead of her visit to the province

Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish climate activist, was in Montreal in September as part of a worldwide rally demanding action on climate change. Thunberg tweeted recently that she would soon visit Alberta. (Ivanoh Demers/Radio-Canada)

Alberta's environment minister says Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg "doesn't understand" the province, and signalled the government won't be laying out the welcome mat for the 16-year-old's upcoming visit.

Speaking to reporters outside the Alberta Legislature on Tuesday, Environment Minister Jason Nixon said Thunberg hasn't reached out to the UCP government, and the government has no plans to contact her.

"I do hope that if she does come to our beautiful province, she takes the time to talk to our state-of-the-art industry partners, who are working tirelessly to continue to produce the most ethical and environmentally friendly oil and gas products in the world," Nixon said.

"When you look at some of Ms. Thunberg's comments, she doesn't understand our province," Nixon said later, adding Thunberg needs to realize that Alberta must be an active partner in any global climate-change strategy.

On Saturday, Thunberg announced on Twitter she will travel to Alberta after a series of appearances in the United States.

Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson used the same medium Tuesday morning to extend a welcome to the climate activist.

"I'd love to invite you to [Edmonton's] city hall to discuss the Edmonton Declaration and some of the environmentally friendly projects we're working on," Iveson tweeted to her.

"Regardless of where you visit, I wish you nothing but the best."

NDP Leader Rachel Notley said that while she doesn't agree with every idea Thunberg proposes, she agrees "we need to move forward with concrete strategies to reduce our emissions."

She also said the UCP government must "stop distracting from the fact that people across the world are concerned about climate change."

"We need to be leaders; we don't need to be cowards."

About the Author

Jennie Russell

Investigative reporter

Jennie Russell is a reporter with CBC Investigates, the award-winning investigative unit of CBC Edmonton. Jennie specializes in accountability journalism and her work has been widely credited with forcing transparency and democratic change in Alberta. Contact Jennie at jennie.russell@cbc.ca and follow her on Twitter @jennierussell_.

With files from Kim Trynacity

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