by Karel Mayrand

As the world turned its attention to December’s COP24 climate negotiations in Poland, Montreal was sharing its own exciting climate news.

The city is now officially committed to becoming carbon-neutral by 2050.

On December 3, the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, Trottier Family Foundation, David Suzuki Foundation and City of Montreal signed a groundbreaking agreement to develop a plan to make the city carbon-neutral. C40 is a network of the world’s megacities committed to addressing climate change.

Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante applauded the organizations’ leadership and collaboration.

“Together, we intend to make Montreal a true leader in the fight against climate change, and to bring concrete solutions to change and to achieve an environmental transition. As a C40 member city, we are committed to taking the necessary action for our metropolis to become resilient and carbon-neutral by 2050,” she said before signing the agreement.

This unique partnership — between environmental and philanthropic organizations and government —is an innovative model that could be implemented in other cities across Canada.

In fact, Montreal’s participation reinforces the important role of municipalities in the fight against climate change. As David Miller, regional director and C40 ambassador for inclusive climate action, puts it, “While national governments are fighting to reach their climate targets, the leadership of the mayors of the world’s large cities remains essential in avoiding the dangers of climate change for our planet.”

This partnership will enable Montréal to be nimble in its solutions. The city will pool resources to develop a concrete and ambitious plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and will also develop a plan to adapt to climate change that is compatible with the objectives set out in the Paris Agreement.

Overall, the parties have committed to collaborating on three aspects:

  • Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Adaptation and resilience to climate change.
  • Montreal will be able to rely on state-of-the-art research financed by the foundations, totalling at least $250,000, with the possibility of adding up to $400,000, according to needs and the potential addition of other financial partners.

The agreement follows another of Montreal’s recent climate commitments. In September, the city signed onto the One Planet Charter at the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco.

In the midst of all these positive moves, the reality is clear: climate change is a massive challenge. Looking back on 2018, Quebec knows this all too well. This past summer’s heat waves resulted in 90 lives lost, devastating Quebecers and Canadians from coast to coast to coast.

Rising to the challenge means everyone — from citizens to cities, non-profits to corporations — will need to work on solutions together.

The C40 commitment shows Montreal’s leadership in the fight against climate change. The David Suzuki Foundation is happy to join forces in this leadership to make the city a role model for environmental transition and resilience throughout Canada, North America and the world.