Montreal pledges to plant 500,000 trees, boost public transit ridership as part of climate plan
Mayor Valérie Plante's climate plan, lauded by environmentalists, comes less than a year before next election
The City of Montreal is aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the next decade by prioritizing public transit, making buildings more energy efficient and encouraging the shift to electric vehicles.
The climate plan, presented Thursday, outlines Mayor Valérie Plante's long-term vision for the city, less than a year before the next municipal election.
In addition to the commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the 122-page document also promises measures to mitigate the effects of climate change, including a commitment to plant 500,000 more trees.
Plante said the climate crisis was a top priority before the pandemic, and that the plan serves as a blueprint for a recovery that "will be green and inclusive."
"Our plan will also enable Montreal to meet its commitments and maintain its leadership role in the fight against climate change," Plante said.
Emissions from vehicles a major obstacle
The biggest hurdle facing the city in meeting its emission target is gas-guzzling vehicles, which account for 30 per cent of the city's total emissions.
To that end, the city aims to expand public transit usage with the coming light-rail network and more residential developments near Metro stations. It also plans to designate more parking spaces for zero-emission vehicles.
In all, there are 46 commitments in the document geared toward cutting emissions levels by 55 per cent by 2030, compared with 1990 levels.
The plan was welcomed by environmental groups, some of whom were consulted by the Plante administration.
The David Suzuki Foundation Quebec, which helped develop the emissions modelling for the city, said the plan is "in line with climate science and Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recommendations."
The Quebec government put forward its own climate plan month, centred on getting more people to use electric vehicles. The plan was not well received by environmentalists, who said it wouldn't do enough to curb emissions.