Municipalities are responsible for over half of Canada’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, making them crucial players in the fight against climate change. But existing gaps in critical climate planning and reporting data can make it challenging to keep the public informed on progress toward net zero by 2050.

On May 27, Scott Pearce, president of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), in partnership with University of Waterloo, FCM’s Green Municipal Fund, Concordia University and ICLEI Canada, are announcing a new online database to assist municipalities in addressing gaps when fighting climate change. This new tool was made possible thanks to the Municipal Net-Zero Action Research Partnership, a research project working with 12 academic institutions, 10 national organizations and 15 municipal partners aiming to support Canadian municipalities in monitoring, measuring and achieving their GHG mitigation goals.

“Seeing the proactive steps many municipalities are taking by setting GHG emissions reduction targets and tackling climate change head-on is inspiring,” said Pearce. “Nevertheless, there is still much work to be done. This new database will be a crucial tool for municipalities to pinpoint and address gaps in combating climate change while sharing best practices. By working together, we are making strides towards achieving net zero emissions.”

The database, hosted by the Waterloo Climate Institute, contains valuable information that can aid municipalities in their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The summary report includes details on municipal climate action plans, targets, interventions, and stakeholder engagement methods.

The new tool was made possible following a four-month long survey that looked at the state of climate action in Canadian municipalities. Of the 256 municipalities across 10 provinces who were surveyed last year, approximately 52.3 percent have adopted GHG emissions reduction targets while about 63 percent have developed climate action or alternative plans to address climate change.

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The survey was led by Dr. Adriane MacDonald, an associate professor at the John Molson School of Business at Concordia University, one of the academic institution partners.

The survey also showed that only 27 percent of those surveyed had pledged to achieve net-zero corporate emissions by 2050 or earlier. Municipalities also relied heavily on voluntary actions from residents and local organizations, such as through education and awareness campaigns. While this may show short term results, this approach may not lead to the widespread changes needed to reduce emissions and meet targets, the survey showed.

The Municipal Net-Zero Action Research Partnership intends to further study the results to better understand the most effective methods to achieve net-zero targets.

The full survey report can be found here.

Featured image credit: Getty Images

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