Montreal wants to know how it can wean off fossil fuels

The City of Montreal wants to be less dependent on fossil fuels and it’s asking its environmentally-minded citizens for ideas.

Mayor will take ideas from public consultation to Paris climate conference

Montreal has ambitious targets to reduce carbon emissions by 2020, but it's only six per cent of the way there. (Yvon Theriault/CBC)

The City of Montreal wants to be less dependent on fossil fuels and it's asking its environmentally-minded citizens for ideas.

A public consultation and brainstorming consultation on Saturday did just that — by asking people to pitch their suggestions for reducing greenhouse gases in the city.

Montreal wants to reduce emissions by 30 per cent of its 1990 levels by 2020, but so far it's only reached six per cent.

Dozens of people attended Saturday's consultation and hundreds of suggestions were sent in online. 

Now the City will collect all the suggestions and select some of them to send with Mayor Denis Coderre to the COP21 climate conference in Paris next month.

The suggestions will go into the city's own planning strategies.

"It's time to recognize that climate change is a humanitarian issue and cities have power to act," said Matthew Chapman of Action Climat Montréal, a local environmental group.

"Cities contain three-fourths of the developed world's population. If we succeed in de-carbonizing, it will be a huge step."

Montreal's public consultation office also has a sleek website where anyone can suggest ideas, and others can vote and comment on them.

Here are some ideas that Montrealers have put forward on that website:

  1. Electrification of shared transportation (bus, taxi, car-sharing, etc.).
  2. Keep bike paths in usable condition all year round.
  3. Inform citizens of the real cost of each choice of transport (like fast food restaurants do with calories).
  4. Encourage replacing oil or gas heating with electrical.
  5. Build heating plants that turn biomass waste into heat for homes in a neighbourhood.
  6. Rate buildings on energy efficiency for future buyers.
  7. Give more incentives for local industries to embark on the provincial carbon-trading scheme.
  8. Reimburse public transit costs to employees.
  9. Have ambitious energy efficiency goals for the construction and renovation of large building complexes.


  • An earlier version of this story quoted Matthew Chapman as saying that cities make up three-fourths of the world's population. His quote should read, "Cities contain three-fourths of the developed world's population."
    Nov 23, 2015 11:56 AM ET


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