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 GHG emissions.

Four emerging trends are pushing local governments to centre stage: 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.

“Our climate is changing. Canada must act and act quickly if we are to meet the climate change commitments we made in Paris alongside other world leaders,” says Charley Beresford, Executive Director of the Columbia Institute. “Local governments are central to achieving these goals because their decisions influence so many greenhouse gas emissions and so much of our energy consumption.”

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 capital: Fund local government baseline assessments of natural capital. Include the carbon storage value of natural capital in national GHG accounting.
  • Local energy: Fund community- and Indigenous-owned renewable energy capacity.
  • Building: Incentivize energy efficiency retrofits in homes and commercial buildings.
  • Transportation: Prioritize transit and active transportation infrastructure projects over auto-only infrastructure.

Download the full report here.

Download the summary here.

Download our postcard here.

Download our news release here.

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About Centre for Civic Governance

The Centre for Civic Governance works to support community leadership meeting today’s social and environmental challenges: climate change, Canada’s increasing equity gap, and shifting social trends. At the Centre for Civic Governance, our goal is to strengthen Canadian communities through sharing best practices, providing tools for locally elected leaders, and progressive policy analysis. We strive to provide knowledge and information to make real and positive social change.