Vancouver — Cities from across Canada have a message for the prime minister on the eve of the high-level negotiations in Copenhagen: cities are doing their part to tackle climate change, and now it's time for Canada to step up and show leadership at the national and international level.
"Our city is on track to meet its Kyoto targets, but we need a strong national commitment to greenhouse gas reductions if we want Canada to remain competitive and able to take advantage of opportunities in the emerging green economy," says Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson.
Mayor Robertson, along with Toronto Mayor David Miller and Calgary Mayor Dave Bronconnier are attending an international summit of cities in Copenhagen, across town from the UN climate negotiations. The theme is "Cities Act" and municipal action on climate change is being showcased.
At home in Canada, more than 20 cities have passed resolutions confirming their own commitment to climate solutions. They are calling on the federal government to deliver a strong agreement in Copenhagen that includes ambitious national greenhouse gas reduction targets. Large and small municipalities alike are pointing to the success of community-level policies.
Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion says that "municipalities like ours are ready to work together with all levels of government to take responsible action and make Canada a climate action leader." On December 9, Mississauga City Council passed a resolution in support of an "ambitious, fair and binding international climate agreement."
"We are a remote, northern, natural resource-based city which faces many challenges when trying to make a real impact on climate change," says Bruce Lantz, mayor of Fort St. John, B.C.. "We have been successful by using education, incentives and regulations to implement solutions that make sense for our city and we are glad to have opportunities to share what we have learned."
In its resolution Fort St. John calls on the federal government to negotiate national greenhouse gas emission reduction targets for developed countries of at least 25 per cent below 1990 levels, and an international financing mechanism to support low carbon and climate resilient development in developing countries.
"When it comes to action on climate change, Halifax Regional Municipality is absolutely committed and our actions are proof," says Mayor Peter Kelly. "We've made a significant investment in energy efficiency projects over the past five years, and have achieved both greenhouse gas reductions and a healthy return on our investment."
"Canadian cities are finding innovative ways to tackle climate change in their communities," says Ian Bruce, climate change specialist with the David Suzuki Foundation. "Now we need federal action and a strong international climate agreement to ensure that cities get the support and investment they need to build healthy, prosperous communities for future generations."
Other Canadian cities that have passed Copenhagen climate resolutions include London, Ont.; Whitehorse; Edmonton; Saskatoon; Whistler, B.C.; and Victoria. A more comprehensive list, including links to the resolutions, can be found at http://www.davidsuzuki.org/what-you-can-do/take-action/municipalities-show-leadership/index.php
For further information:
Kristen Ostling, communications specialist, David Suzuki Foundation, firstname.lastname@example.org