2016 Top Asks for Climate Action – Ramping Up Low Carbon Communities

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.

Top Asks makes the case for local climate leadership and demonstrates the benefits of empowering local governments to take the lead on climate action in their communities.

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.

Media Coverage


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. Local governments are central to achieving these goals because their decisions influence so many greenhouse gas emissions and so much of our energy consumption.

     Charley Beresford, Executive Director of the Columbia Institute

“Climate change is right here, right now. These recommendations are early wins for achieving the climate change goals we’ve signed on to as Canadians and as global citizens.”

     Mike Layton, Toronto City Councillor and Top Asks advisor

“The benefits for communities shifting to stronger environmental policies are clear. What we need now is action from federal and provincial governments that will put measures in place to ramp up low carbon communities.”

     Andrea Reimer, Vancouver City Councillor and Top Asks advisor, Assistant Chair of the Green Municipal Fund

“We open the door to faster climate solutions by engaging local governments more actively. For example, we would see an immediate and significant impact with the funding of more retrofit programs in the building sector, with improved active transportation and transit, and with more compact community design and energy innovation.”

      Charley Beresford, Executive Director, Columbia Institute

“Top Asks lays out key climate action points and then tells you how to get it done. It’s a terrific public policy resource.”

      Megan Leslie, former Member of Parliament, Halifax

“Over half of the world’s population and 80% of Canadians live in urban areas with more arriving every day. The efficiency of the built environment, the way people transport themselves, and the shift to a green energy path will be key to keeping carbon emissions low and the planet on a sustainable path. Now is the time to unite, adopt the recommendations put forward here, and turn to a bright green future.”

     David Cadman, Past President, ICLEI Global – Local Governments for Sustainability

More Information

  • Download the full report here.
  • Download our postcard here.
  • Download our news release here.

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.