Montréal, February 6 — As a response to the disappointing results of the COP25 climate negotiations, the National Climate League’s (NCL) 2019 Standings, released today by The Climate Reality Project Canada, reveal the progress and ambition of 82 Canadian cities to become carbon neutral and increase their citizens’ well-being. As we enter a new decade of climate action, this initiative reinforces cities’ leadership role in achieving the national goal of net-zero emissions by 2050. In addition to increasing action in their communities, they can inspire other municipalities, engage other levels of government, and encourage citizen participation.
“The National Climate League’s 2019 Standings come at a crucial time—with the government’s recent pledge to go carbon neutral by 2050 and an incredibly disappointing COP25, these kinds of initiatives are important if we want to make sure we achieve net-zero emissions in thirty years,” claims Natalie Richards, Commissioner for the League.
Halifax, North Vancouver, Victoria, Calgary, Kingston, Ottawa, and Montreal among the winners
The National Climate League's 2019 Standings reveal the importance of increasing cities’ climate ambition and examine the best practices of selected Canadian cities in their efforts to become carbon neutral by 2050. The League's goal is to identify leading municipalities by analyzing their performance on several indicators, and to inspire other cities to accelerate the transition to a sustainable, carbon-neutral economy in which citizens enjoy a better quality of life.
The NCL Best of 2019 seal was awarded to eight municipalities based on several development indicators. Halifax received the most awards at four: Air Quality, Tree Canopy Cover, Landfill Waste, and Local Agriculture. Other winners included: North Vancouver for its Green Buildings, Victoria for its Walk Score, Vancouver for its Shared Vehicles and Sustainable Jobs, Calgary for its Bike Lanes, Kingston for its EV Charging Stations, Ottawa for its Road Safety and Fuel Costs, and Montréal for its Public Transit and Affordable Housing.
Increasing cities’ ambition and citizen participation
The Standings also allow citizens to lobby their local governments in order to initiate change in their own communities.
“What’s clear is that policy-makers need the support of residents behind climate solutions; it improves outcomes and fosters trust,” says André-Yanne Parent, Executive Director of The Climate Reality Project Canada. “And given that capacity is lacking among existing environmental organizations to engage all municipalities, crowdsourcing also empowers citizens to take action themselves.”
A unique participatory and popular process
Over one hundred researchers, municipal councillors, public servants, and advocacy organizations helped craft the League’s indicators and methodologies. Across Canada in municipalities of all sizes, citizens called on their city councillors and municipal staff to submit 30 indicators (15 primary; 15 complementary) to an open database. This database, called the NCL Stat Tracker, is built on free and scalable web software, and now contains over 1600 data points. It also doubled in size from 2018 to 2019, now containing more data on more cities.
“The League is, in essence, a grassroots initiative, conceived with citizens who called on their municipalities to submit data and a team of over a dozen volunteers, who contributed to the writing, graphic design, and translation of the Standings,” adds Matthew Chapman, National Campaign Coordinator for The Climate Reality Project Canada. “Ours is a model that emphasizes the need for broad public participation and continuous engagement. Municipalities should implement their climate plans with this in mind; hopefully, these Standings will show them how urgent it is to do so.”
About the National Climate League
The National Climate League (NCL) is a data mining challenge powered by citizen-led Community Climate Hubs. It highlights local solutions that seek to improve citizen quality of life while setting Canadian municipalities on a path to carbon neutrality, aiming for 100% renewable energy by mid-century. In addition, it seeks to drive progress along the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ (FCM) Partners for Climate Protection five-step Milestone Framework.
About The Climate Reality Project Canada
The Climate Reality Project Canada is the Canadian branch of The Climate Reality Project, founded in 2006 by former Vice President of the United States and Nobel Laureate Al Gore. Its mission is to catalyze a global solution to the climate crisis by making urgent action a necessity across all levels of society. It does so through the training of a vast and international network of Climate Reality Leaders trained by Al Gore himself. There are more than 20,000 Climate Reality Leaders worldwide and over 1000 Canadian Climate Reality Leaders whose role it is to promote education and action with regards to the climate crisis. Climate Reality Canada is also the founder of the Community Climate Hubs initiative, which aims to decarbonize cities across the country.