Copenhagen – Canada’s leading environmental groups are teaming up today to recognize acts of climate leadership by provincial and large municipal governments across Canada. Several premiers, cabinet ministers and mayors received recognition. The jurisdictions are each receiving an award.
“With Christmas coming up, these leaders definitely belong on the ‘nice’ list for demonstrating that Canadians can innovate with the best in the world. We think their action-oriented approach deserves recognition and celebration,” said Dr. Rick Smith, Executive Director of Environmental Defence, and MC for a gala event in Copenhagen tonight called Celebrating Climate Leadership in Canada. “While there is still much more to do, it’s important to recognize climate leadership where it exists so we can build on it.”
A morning press conference and an evening gala event recognize the following initiatives, and the jurisdictions pioneering them:
Greenest City Action Plan – City of Vancouver
Reaching Out to Global Energy Cities – City of Calgary
Early Initiatives to Reduce Carbon Footprint – City of Edmonton
Tower Renewal and Transit City – City of Toronto
Climat : Plan de Transport – Ville de Montreal
Economy Wide Carbon Pricing – Province of British Columbia
Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Initiatives – Province of Manitoba
Green Energy Champion – Province of Ontario
Climat : Engagement Constant – Province du Quebec
Absolute Electricity Emissions Cap – Province of Nova Scotia
The participating environmental organizations are: the David Suzuki Foundation, the Ecology Action Centre, Environmental Defence, Equiterre, ForestEthics, the Green Energy Act Alliance, the Pembina Institute, PowerUp Canada, TckTckTck, and WWF-Canada.
For details of each initiative being recognized, and contacts for each recipient, please visit www.environmentaldefence.ca.
The gala event also features award-winning Canadian musician Sarah Harmer.
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Details for the morning press conference in Copenhagen: 9am local time at
Crowne Plaza Copenhagen Towers,  Room Geneva, Oerestads Boulevard 114-118
2300 Copenhaagen S,  Metro Station Oerestads
Details for the evening Gala event: Mogens Dahl Koncertsal, Snorresgarde 22, Metro Station Islands Brygge
For more information regarding the press conference or gala event, contact
Canada:
Jennifer Foulds, Environmental Defence 416-323-9521ext 232,  647-280-9521 (cell);
Copenhagen:
Rick Smith, Environmental Defence, 45-604 29-304
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Backgrounder
Climate Leadership
City of Vancouver: “Greenest City Action Plan”
Recipient: (in Copenhagen) Mayor Gregor Robertson
Co-sponsor contacts: in Copenhagen Tzeporah Berman, PowerUp Canada 45-50-10-60-33; in Vancouver, Merran Smith, ForestEthics, 604-816-5636
Background:
•    Most ambitious greenhouse gas reduction targets of a city in a 10 year plan;
•    First North American city to set by laws mandating electric car capacity in new developments;
•    GREEN CAPITAL economic strategy for green job creation and attracting green enterprise.

City of Calgary: “Reaching Out to Global Energy Cities”
Recipient: (in Copenhagen) Mayor Dave Bronconnier
Co-sponsor contact: in Copenhagen Clare Demerse, Pembina Institute 45-269-809-64; in Alberta, Jesse Row, Pembina Institute, 403-483-4810
Background:
The City of Calgary has shown climate leadership by committing to build wind farms to supply 100% of the electricity for their municipal operations in a province dominated by coal-fired power plants. They have also led the creation of the Calgary Climate Change Accord, which was signed by 9 of the biggest oil and gas cities around the world and  
calls for significant action, both globally and locally, to protect the planet from the effects of climate change.

City of Edmonton: “Early Initiatives to Reduce Carbon Footprint”
Recipient: (in absentia) Mayor Stephen Mandel
Co-sponsor contact: in Copenhagen Clare Demerse, Pembina Institute, 45-269-809-64; in Alberta, Jesse Row, Pembina Institute, 403-483-4810
Background:
The City of Edmonton was one of the first cities in Canada to develop a plan to reduce GHG emissions and has since created the CO2RE Program (Carbon Dioxide Reduction Edmonton) to help Edmontonians reduce their carbon footprint. This program is recognized as a significant and innovative approach to engaging all sectors at a local level. As well, just last month the city passed a progressive motion to establish a
renewable energy task force to determine how renewable power can be taken advantage of within the city.

City of Toronto: “Tower Renewal and Transit City”
Recipient: (in Copenhagen) Mayor David Miller
Co-sponsor contact: in Copenhagen Gerald Butts, WWF-Canada 416-508-3456; in Toronto, Keith Stewart, WWF-Canada, 647-328-5518
Background:
•    Tower Renewal updates ageing high rises around Toronto for energy efficiency and other improvements
•    Transit City focuses on building light rail around Toronto
•    City of Toronto targets include 30 per cent reduction in greenhouse gases by 2020 and 80 per cent by 2050 based on 1990 levels
•    Toronto has reduced greenhouse gas emissions from city operations by 40 per cent based on 1990 levels
•    Toronto has retrofitted over 500 city-owned buildings for energy efficiency and over 600 commercial and not for profit buildings through the City of Toronto Energy Retrofit Program and the Better Building Partnership. Combined with other initiatives such deep lake water cooling, greening the City fleet, switching 2000 traffic signals to LEDs and powering City Hall with renewable energy, these programs have resulted  savings of millions of dollars in operating costs  and associated green house gas reductions of over 1,000,000 tonnes.

Ville de Montréal : “Climat : Plan de transport”
Recipient: (in absentia) Mayor Gerald Tremblay
Co-sponsor contact: in Copenhagen, Marie-Eve Roy, Equiterre: 45-416-33-795 ; in Quebec Eveline Trudel-Fugere, 514-605-2000
Background:
•    For its engagement to reduce by 30 % its GHG emissions below 1990 level before 2020.
•    For having adopted a comprehensive and global transportation plan
•    For its opposition to projects that would enhance and develop car usage (like the project of Highway 25 and project Turcot)
British Columbia: “Economy Wide Carbon Pricing”
Recipient: (in Copenhagen) Premier Gordon Campbell
Co-sponsor contact: in Copenhagen Tzeporah Berman, PowerUp Canada 45-50-10-60-33; in Vancouver, Merran Smith, ForestEthics, 604-816-5636
Background:
BC is being recognized for climate leadership for legislating aggressive targets to reduce emissions, banning conventional coal-fired electricity, and implementing North America’s first broad based revenue neutral carbon tax.

Manitoba: “Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Initiatives”
Recipient: (in Copenhagen) Premier Sellinger
Co-sponsor contact: in Copenhagen Dale Marshall, David Suzuki Foundation 45-29-36 31-45; in Canada, Ian Bruce, David Suzuki Foundation, 604-732-4228
Background:
 
National leadership on the installation of renewable energy technologies including ground-source heat pumps, a renewable energy technology that delivers heating and cooling for homes and large buildings.   
A climate change action plan that is backed by a legislated greenhouse gas target almost in line with Canada’s Kyoto target of six per cent below 1990 levels by 2012.
Strong measures on energy efficiency, including energy-saving targets for Manitoba Hydro, greater efficiency standards for furnaces and boilers, and a new energy code for new commercial buildings.
A carbon tax of $10 per tonne on emissions from the burning of coal in the province.

Ontario “Green Energy Champion”
Recipient: (in Copenhagen) Environment Minister John Gerretsen
Co-sponsor contact: in Copenhagen, Rick Smith, Environmental Defence 45-604-29-304; in Ontario Deb Doncaster, Community Power Fund, 416-824-4866
Background:
Passed May 14th 2009, Ontario’s new Green Energy and Green Economy Act, expected to create 50,000-90,000 jobs in the next 10 years – focuses on two things:  
1.    Creating a culture of conservation in the province by improving energy efficiencies and conservation programs, and
2.    Producing an attractive investment regime to facilitate the rapid deployment of renewable energy using a European style feed-in tariff program for renewable energy. The Feed-In Tariff program began in the fall of 2009 which set globally competitive rates for renewable power, while setting new regulations under the Act to streamline the permitting and approvals process for renewable energy projects.  
Ontario has also introduced the Far North Planning and Protection Act which will serve to put aside 225,000 square kilometers of Boreal forest – a significant carbon store in Canada.
Quebec: “Climat : Engagement constant”
Recipient: (in Copenhagen) Premier Jean Charest
Co-sponsor contact: in Copenhagen, Marie-Eve Roy, Equiterre: 45-416-33-795; in Quebec Eveline Trudel-Fugere, 514-605-2000
Background:
This award goes to the Government of Quebec, for its long-time – non-partisan – leadership on climate action, mainly:
•    For having argued hard in Kyoto for Canada to take on ambitious targets
•    For having systematically supported ratification of the Kyoto Protocol by the Canadian Government
•    For having set for itself strong 2012 targets and for having introduced a comprehensive and sound climate action plan, with concrete actions financed through the first carbon-tax in North America
•    For its unwavering public support for strong climate action in Canada, in North America and on the international scene.
•    Finally, and certainly not the least, for its engagement to reduce its GHG emission by 20% below 1990 level by 2020, being now the province of Canada with the most ambitious reduction target.

Nova Scotia: “Absolute Electricity Emissions Cap”
Recipient: (in Copenhagen) Premier Darrell Dexter
Co-sponsor contact: in Copenhagen, Janice Ashworth, Ecology Action Centre 45-26-58-44-52; in Nova Scotia, Cheryl Ratchford, Ecology Action Centre, 902-429-2202
Background:
•    In January, 2009, the Provincial government announced a Climate Change Action Plan that legislated a reduction in provincial greenhouse gas emissions to 10% below 1990 levels by 2020.
•    As a coal dependent province, electric generation in Nova Scotia is responsible for approximately 50% of all GHG emissions. A cap on the province’s electric sector has been instituted to achieve this portion of the reductions.
•    Requirements for reductions will begin on January 1, 2010.
•    In the short term, reductions will be met largely through both demand side management and new renewable energy generation, which has been set at 25% renewable generation by 2015.