Montreal

Plante tells United Nations that Montreal will reduce emissions by 55% by 2030

"Some cities, such as Montreal, are going further," said Montreal's mayor, who is taking part in the UN Climate Action Summit as part of a panel called Plans for a Carbon Neutral World.

Address comes as city prepares to hold massive march, host climate activist Greta Thunberg

Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante speaks to a reporter just before her address to the United Nations in New York on Monday. (Étienne Leblanc/Radio-Canada)

Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante said that cities are on the front lines in the fight against climate change in her address to the United Nations today.

Plante spoke on behalf of cities at the UN Climate Action Summit as part of a panel called Plans for a Carbon Neutral World.

"By 2050, two-thirds of the global population will live in urban centres," Plante told the United Nations. 

She said that many cities, including Montreal, are on their way to meeting their 2030 target of reducing carbon emissions by 45 per cent and being carbon neutral by 2050.

"Some cities, such as Montreal, are going further," said Plante, who said Montreal's goal is to reduce emissions by 55 per cent over the next 10 years.  

Watch Plante speak at the summit here:

Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante told the United Nations that cities are on the front lines in the fight against climate change. 4:15

She said cities are working to reduce citizens' reliance on driving solo in personal vehicles, boost the use of public transport and encourage the construction of carbon-neutral buildings. 

Plante also brought up her administration's decision to block a residential development in Montreal's West Island, where the city plans to create its Great Western Park. 

She addressed the leaders of Germany, New Zealand and India as well as the secretary general of the United Nations.

Plante​​​​​​'s visit to the UN comes as Montrealers prepare to come out in force in a march calling for concrete action on global warming on Friday.

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg will be in Montreal to take part.

'Necessary political leadership'

Climate researcher Caroline Brouillette, who works for Équiterre, said her organization is happy to learn of Plante's emissions reduction goal, although it is ambitious. 

"It's feasible, and it's also necessary in the context of the climate emergency," said Brouillette. 

Plante's plan targets two major policy areas: transport and buildings. In terms of transport, Brouillette says it's necessary to reduce Montrealers' dependence on driving solo in vehicles and increase active transport. 

"For example, increasing the number of bike lanes, which by the same token reduces the number of parking spots," Brouillette said. 

Without knowing concretely which policies will be put in place, Rouilette said, it's difficult to know whether they will be ambitious enough to reach Plante's target emissions reductions. Still, she said, Plante's announcement is a positive step.

"What the mayor is doing is showing the necessary political leadership that will drive change forward," she said. 

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