Since the start of the climate change conference in Copenhagen last week, Canada has been the punching bag for environmentalists around the world, but that’s about to change.
Tonight in Copenhagen, where delegates from 192 countries are meeting to draft a deal to replace the Kyoto Protocol, a group of environmental NGOs will present Canadian cities and provinces with awards for environmental leadership.
“It’s important to recognize leadership when it happens,” said Rick Smith, executive director for Environmental Defence.
“Canada is taking a bit of a drubbing at the talks but it turns out to be the case that there’s actually a lot of positive stuff happening in Canada and we want to recognize the people making that happen.”
Calgary is getting the Reaching Out to Global Energy Cities award for committing to draw 100% of the electricity it uses for municipal operations from green energy sources, much of it from wind.
Right now, the city’s C Train is powered by a series of 12 wind turbines located across southern Alberta.
Edmonton is getting the “Early Initiatives to Reduce Carbon Footprint” award for being one of the first Canadian cities to develop its own plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
Vancouver wins big with the Greenest City Action Plan award for having the most aggressive greenhouse gas reduction targets for any 10-year plan, which includes forcing developers to accommodate electric cars.
Toronto gets the Tower Renewal and Transit City award for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from city operations 40% below 1990 levels and for retrofitting more than 500 city-owned buildings and 600 commercial buildings for energy efficiency.
Ontario gets the Green Energy Champion award for encouraging the development of renewable energy and for protecting 225,000 square kilometres of forest.