Top Asks for Climate Action: Ramping Up Low Carbon Communities

"Top Asks for Climate Action" highlights how Canada can ramp up climate action by empowering low carbon communities. Local governments have a crucial role to play in combating climate change. Their decisions directly or indirectly impact sixty percent of Canada’s energy consumption and more than fifty percent of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Four emerging trends are pushing local governments to centerstage: the localization of energy, the mainstreaming of climate change in land use planning, rapid urbanization, and the importance of place in a global economy.

Top Asks makes the case for local climate leadership, and also demonstrates the benefits of empowering local governments to take the lead on climate action in their communities.

“The benefits are clear. Engaging local governments more actively in climate action would lead to reduced GHG emissions,” says Charley Beresford, Executive Director at the Columbia Institute. “What’s needed now is action from federal and provincial governments that will put measures in place to ramp up low carbon communities.”

The report pinpoints what local governments need from the federal, provincial and territorial governments to realize climate action. Top federal, provincial and territorial asks described in this report include:

  • Capacity building: Adopt science-based greenhouse gas targets. Put a price on carbon.
  • Funding: Line up sustainable infrastructure spending programs with local climate action. Allocate subsides to GHG- friendly industry.
  • Smart growth & natural capitalFund local government baseline assessments of natural capital. Include the carbon storage value of natural capital in national GHG accounting.
  • Local energyFund community- and Indigenous-owned renewable energy capacity.
  • BuildingIncentivize energy efficiency retrofits in homes and commercial buildings.
  • TransportationPrioritize transit and active transportation infrastructure projects over auto-only infrastructure.

Download the Top Asks for Climate Action Summary here.

Download our Top Asks for Climate Action list here.

Download the full report below. 

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