Statement by FCM President on the Report from the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development



    OTTAWA, May 12 /CNW Telbec/ - Statement by Jean Perrault, President of
the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) and Mayor of Sherbrooke, Que.,
on today's report issued by the Commissioner of the Environment and
Sustainable Development.
    "Today's report from the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable
Development on the Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act yet again demonstrates
the need for real action from the Government of Canada and all parties in the
House of Commons.
    The reality is that international protocols and emissions targets will
not stop climate change on their own. What is needed is concrete local action
to reduce emissions in our cities and communities. As the Commissioner said in
2006, this requires federal leadership, including a commitment to strong and
long-lasting partnerships with other orders of government.
    Canadians care about the impacts of climate change-impacts on air and
water quality, extreme weather events, and infrastructure investments and
repairs. Canadians want a strategy and actions that work. An obvious strategy
to reduce greenhouse gases (GHGs) is to reduce transportation emissions by
investing in public transit. Transportation produces close to 30 percent of
Canada's GHG emissions. Within the transportation sector, passenger vehicles
account for 70 per cent of GHG emissions.
    In a 2008 public opinion poll, 36 percent of respondents chose improving
public transit as their top priority for a federal environmental strategy,
ahead of industry regulations, carbon capture and a carbon tax. Canadians know
that getting people out of their cars and onto public transit is the only way
to reduce automobile emissions.
    Public transit isn't the only opportunity to make progress.
Municipalities are also on the front-line in other efforts in the fight
against climate change. They are retrofitting public buildings to reduce
energy consumption; developing water, solar and wind-powered energy projects;
and leading efforts to reduce emissions from municipal operations.
    But current efforts are largely independent and lack national
coordination. Municipal governments are in a financial straitjacket, which
prevents them from doing as much as they could to reduce emissions. What is
needed is a strong, long-term partnership between federal,
provincial/territorial and municipal governments.
    Municipalities are ready to do their part to make a difference. By 2012,
communities could cut GHG emissions by 20 to 50 megatonnes from municipal
operations and community-wide initiatives with investments in environmental
infrastructure and sustainable transportation.
    The federal government's infrastructure stimulus plan provides tools to
begin building the intergovernmental partnership. For example, by targeting
municipal projects, the $1 billion Green Infrastructure stimulus program can
help lay the foundation for ongoing cooperation between municipalities and the
federal government.
    Short-term investments, while important, must be used to jump-start a
sustained and coordinated climate change strategy, which must include a
long-term plan to improve public transit, increase efficiencies of municipal
systems, support emissions reduction projects and build sustainable
communities across Canada."




For further information:

For further information: Maurice Gingues, (613) 907-6395,
mgingues@fcm.ca

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Federation of Canadian Municipalities

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