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Obama: 'We can learn' from Sweden on energy, climate innovations

Sweden could serve as a model for the United States as a nation that fosters energy innovation while simultaneously combating climate change, President Obama said Wednesday in Stockholm.

Obama said he and Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt discussed developing a partnership on clean energy, adding that it would benefit the U.S. to emulate Sweden on the energy front.

“Sweden is obviously an extraordinary leader when it comes to tackling climate change and increasing energy efficiency, and developing new technologies. And the goal of achieving a carbon-neutral economy is remarkable, and Sweden is well on its way. We deeply respect and admire that and think we can learn from it,” Obama said.

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Obama noted that the U.S. and Sweden are just two nations working on the “global challenge” of addressing climate change, which will require large greenhouse gas emissions reductions from historically reluctant players such as China and India.

The president touted his second-term climate agenda as a way to meet that challenge.

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The plan focuses on curbing greenhouse gas emissions through new regulations on energy efficiency and power plants, along with boosting renewable energy on public lands.

It’s rankled conservatives, who say the new rules will damage the economy and raise energy costs.

But the effort has won praise from Democrats and left-leaning groups, saying it will curb greenhouse gas pollution to help slow the effects of climate change.

The Obama administration also has championed the plan as an economic plus. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy, for example, contended it would help drive innovation in the energy and manufacturing sector.

Obama toured some clean-energy technologies at an expo at Stockholm’s Royal Institute of Technology as part of his trip Wednesday.

“And at the Royal Institute of Technology today I look forward to seeing some of the innovative ways that we can cooperate,” Obama said before heading to that event.