The Coalition welcomes Montreal’s climate plan

After six years of citizen mobilization and connecting researchers with municipal decision-makers, the Montreal Climate Coalition is pleased to welcome the first climate plan since it initiated the vertMTL public consultation on reducing dependence on fossil fuels in 2015-2016.

The Montreal’s climate plan 2020-2030 launched november the 10th is the city’s response to the climate emergency, with the objective of becoming carbon-neural by 2050.

“This plan represents Montréal’s most ambitious effort to date in the face of the climate emergency,” said Jean-François Boisvert, President of the Montreal Climate Coalition. “What’s more, it fits well with several elements of the Quebec ZéN Roadmap for Quebec’s transition to carbon neutrality, the result of a vast co-construction work carried out by more than 190 specialists and representatives of civil society. »

The Climate Plan is less in line with Declaration #MTL400, a document stemming from the vertMTL consultation and counting among its signatories more than 140 Montreal organizations and companies as well as eminent scientists in the field. It advocates four axes of climate governance to ensure an equitable and science-based transition: 

– a rigorous carbon budget;

– a climate test to ensure the compatibility of projects with this budget;

– frequent and granular GHG inventories; 

– public participation in the planning and implementation of the transition.

“The value of a participatory democracy is as much in the search for solutions, as it is in their implementation,” stresses France Levert, member of the Coalition’s coordinating committee and co-founder of the Democratize Montreal Collective. According to her, citizen participation is a key element for long-term success. “The role of public participation envisaged by the city in the years to come will be a determining factor in the mobilization that will guarantee the plan’s success. It is a crucial element »

While the City of Montreal’s climate plan proposes many promising initiatives, we note a few shortcomings.

“It bodes well for the plan that a climate test is integrated, and we would like a “carbon budget” type tool to be put in place as soon as possible, specifying annual ceilings to be respected. In addition, the absence of timely, more reliable and detailed GHG inventories, the climate test will not have the complementary tools to be as effective as it could be.” asserts Mr. Boisvert. “It’s all well and good to set a target for 2030, but at this pace of reporting, we won’t have the data until 2035 to know if we’ve reached that target. » 

The GHG inventory on which the plan is based dates from 2015. Other Canadian cities are leading the way in this regard: Calgary publishes GHG inventories with a two-year delay and Toronto is working with researchers to publish the inventories in real time using best practices developed in Paris and elsewhere.

Without a coherent and credible suite of climate governance tools, the plan risks being quickly politicized to the detriment of our collective progress towards a carbon-neutral, resilient and just city. It is not too late to develop these tools with the help of local researchers and integrate them into the plan. For its part, the Climate Coalition Montreal remains ready to play its facilitation role.

The race for decarbonization is well underway, but it is far from won. Time is running out and the climate crisis will not give us a second chance.