Mar 2011 26

Vancouver Successful In Fighting Climate Change

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Photo by Vancouver Convention Centre Photo by Vancouver Convention Centre

According to the World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF) list of Canadian cities, Vancouver is the most successful at fighting climate change, scoring 8.1 out of a possible 10 points.

The list was released as a call for action on climate change, supporting the popular Earth Hour program. The list evaluated each city’s efforts to encourage green building and renewable energies, cut greenhouse gas emissions, and promote green transportation. Toronto ranked second, with 7.2 points, while Montreal came in third, with 6.2 points.

WWF authorities explain that much work is still needed to meet cities’ carbon footprint reduction goals. “Canada can be a world leader in clean energy, but provincial involvement is essential to make it happen,” said Josh Laughren, WWF Director of Climate and Energy. “Vancouver planners have made an effort to integrate climate change and sustainability across all functions of the city,” he added. An example of these initiatives is the many new bike lanes that were installed across the city. Vancouver is also at the leading edge of green roof development, and the New Vancouver Convention Centre makes use of this green technology.

Vancouver strives to entice people from across the world to move to the city by ensuring a high quality of life, and this includes being on the forefront of sustainable technology. With this goal in mind, it has launched Imagine 2020, a program designed to make Vancouver the greenest city in the world in nine years. Promoting local food, green enterprise, green transportation, and green buildings are just some of this program’s goals. According to Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, City Hall has launched a pilot project that “deconstructs rather than demolishes neighbourhood homes, keeping over 90 per cent of a home out of the landfill.”

Sustainability has long been a desire for Vancouverites — even decades ago, when citizens rejected a motorway planned to transect the city. Andre Reimer, Vancouver city Counsellor, explains: “It has taken many decades for cities to become ‘climate heavy’ and it may take just as long to become ‘climate light.’ It’s a much more livable city. There’s a quality of life you don’t get in many cities in North America.” While Vancouver still has a long way to go to reach its green targets, it is certainly on the right track.

“If you take a look at the things Vancouver has done, if you take a look at the things that other cities have done, then it provides us with an agenda for how cities can contribute to the solution of climate change,” WWF Director of Climate and Energy Laughren said. None of the listed cities have been afraid to take action when it comes to fighting climate change. Their ranking on the list is proof that citizens and their representatives are willing to work toward raising environmental standards and investing in a sustainable future.

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