LONDON - Environmental targets must be balanced with economic growth, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said as he tried to sell his plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to a London business crowd.
Harper acknowledged economic growth on the planet cannot be sustained without better environmental conservation preservation.
"But it is equally true as the current reaction to high energy prices in Europe is starting to show, that environmental progress will never be achieved unless the economic needs of the population are being met," Harper told the Canada-United Kingdom Chamber of Commerce.
"So our targets need to realistic, practical and achievable."
Both the United Nations and European Union have denounced the Harper government's green plan as insufficient, as have environmental groups such as the Sierra Club.
Harper was to meet later Thursday with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and the Queen .
Harper's speeches and bilateral meetings with the leaders of France, the UK, Germany and Italy come in advance of this summer's G8 summit in Japan where Canada could once again face harsh criticism on its approach to climate change.