More than 200 municipal leaders have issued a “report card” on the federal parties’ climate platforms in hope of pushing Canada’s next government to better tackle the climate crisis’s impact on cities.
The Climate Caucus is a network of hundreds of Canadian mayors and city councillors working to limit global heating to 1.5 C, as recommended by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s.
On Wednesday, the organization released grades for each party’s climate change platform based on an assessment of their policies on transportation, buildings, waste, land use and adaptation.
The grades are as follows:
- Conservatives: D-
- Greens: A-
- Liberals: B
- NDP: B
- People’s Party of Canada: F
“One of our main purposes as local governments is to challenge the provinces and federal government to do more on climate change,” Rik Logtenberg, a city councillor in Nelson, B.C., and co-founder of the Climate Caucus, said in an interview. “We have sympathy and understanding of the task at hand that others don’t. We understand that fighting climate change is complicated, especially if you’re trying to build a realistic climate platform. We understand that it’s difficult.”
According to UN Habitat, cities consume 78 per cent of the world’s energy, and produce more than 60 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions. By 2050, cities will be home to two-thirds of the world’s population.
“Our asks have a lot of weight, because these are specific things we need tomorrow. Cities are carrying a lot of the weight right now to mitigate climate change, so this report card is deeply grounded in the reality of today” – @riklogtenberg
In Canada, cities are on the frontline of the fight against the climate crisis, Logtenberg said. But receive just over 10 cents on the dollar of all taxes collected in Canada, 80 per cent of which goes directly toward providing services, operations and maintenance.
This means local governments have only 20 per cent of the tax dollars they receive to protect and preserve the majority of Canada’s infrastructure from climate change.
According to a recent report conducted by Federation of Canadian Municipalities and the Insurance Bureau of Canada, avoiding the worst effects of climate change at the municipal level will cost an estimated $5.3 billion per year, shared among all three levels of government.
Whoever forms government Monday will have to work with the leaders on the ground dealing with the issues that best facilitate mitigation and adaptation efforts.
“We, probably more than any other organization in Canada, are dealing with the impacts of climate change already,” Logtenberg said. “We’re actively working on rebuilding our transportation infrastructure. We’re rebuilding our building codes. We’re managing our municipal composting system with the intent of removing methane. We are dealing with the realities of climate change day to day.”
“Our asks have a lot of weight, because these are specific things we need tomorrow,” he added. “Cities are carrying a lot of the weight right now to mitigate climate change, so this report card is deeply grounded in the reality of today.” MORE