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Mayor Robertson was the sole Canadian Mayor invited by the Pope to attend a 2-day conference at the Vatican

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Mayors pass joint resolution in support of binding emission targets and call for coordinated international climate change leadership

Mayors representing 21 of Canada’s big cities are calling for binding targets to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, adding to action and leadership from cities worldwide ahead of December’s COP21 UN Climate Conference in Paris.

The Big City Mayors’ resolution comes as local governments from around the world met last week at the World Summit for Climate & Territories in Lyon, France. Local governments are presenting commitments and specific proposals to the negotiating countries that will negotiate a new, universal climate deal at COP21.

“Even when other levels of government have been slow to respond, leading cities in Canada and around the world are taking action on climate change – and showing that we can reduce our climate pollution while growing our economies,” said Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, who serves as Chair of Canada’s Big City Mayors’ Caucus (BCMC). “Cities must expand upon our crucial and innovative leadership role in confronting climate change and adapting to its dire consequences. We are united in calling upon other levels of government in Canada and throughout the world to join us in committing to meaningful and binding emissions targets. We must have a climate agreement signed in Paris that respects the needs of our cities, our planet, and the generations to come.”

The Mayors’ resolution commits the BCMC to support binding GHG targets on all orders of government that address both short-term and long-term commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It calls on all members of the big cities caucus to develop and implement climate actions plans that both identify the risks from climate change and detail how those risks will be mitigated. The resolution also commits cities to regular and transparent reporting of their GHG emissions through the Carbon Disclosure Project.

“Cities around the world are leading the way in tackling climate change, and in Canada, they are also speaking with one voice in urging specific global action,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy to Cities and Climate Change. “This resolution by the Big City Mayors’ Caucus, like the Compact of Mayors that more and more cities are joining, is a concrete commitment to take bold action. I applaud Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson for his leadership in passing it at the perfect time, as the World Summit convenes in France.”

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50% of trips in Vancouver made by walking, cycling or transit

A new report presented to City Council today showed that the City of Vancouver is achieving its Greenest City 2020 goal for transportation mode share, with 50% of trips within the city now consisting of walking, biking, or transit — up from 40% in 2008.

Car use in the City has declined even as the economy and population have grown, while cycling has seen a steady increase: city-wide cycling trips saw a year-over-year increase of 20% from 2013 to 2014.

“Our Greenest City and Transportation 2040 actions are making Vancouver a safer, cleaner, more environmentally friendly city to get around,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “Investments in safer walking and cycling – protected bike lanes, improved crosswalks, better lighting – are encouraging people to walk and bike more, and we’re now seeing big increases in walking and bike trips throughout the city.”

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Vancouver City Council has voted unanimously to support a shift toward the city deriving 100% of its energy from renewable sources, as the City of Vancouver nears the half-way mark of the Greenest City 2020 Action Plan.

The motion from Mayor Gregor Robertson directs staff to report back by autumn with a reasonable timeline on which to meet the comprehensive goal, which the City of Vancouver is now the first North American city to establish.

“Cities around the world must show continued leadership to meet the urgent challenge of climate change, and the most impactful change we can make is a shift toward 100% of our energy being derived from renewable sources,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “The future of Vancouver’s economy and livability will depend on our ability to confront and adapt to climate change, and moving toward renewable energy is another way that Vancouver is working to become the greenest city in the world.”

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Mayor Gregor Robertson and City Council approved the City of Vancouver’s 2015 Budget today, a balanced and forward-looking plan that continues strong business discipline at City Hall while making significant investments in key community priorities.

“Vancouver’s 2015 Budget is an ambitious, responsible and community-driven plan that strengthens our communities today and invests in our city’s future,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “We heard from Vancouver that residents want their budget to support new affordable housing, better transportation, public safety, improved parks and action to meet our Greenest City goals. The 2015 Budget invests in all of these urgent priorities while keeping taxes low and enhancing City services, and I’m very proud to support it.”

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Mayor Gregor Robertson is highlighting further engagement opportunities for the City of Vancouver’s proposed 2015 Budget, ahead of a final Council vote on March 3rd.

“Vancouver’s proposed 2015 Budget is an ambitious, responsible, and community-driven plan to keep our city moving forward,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “It’s a balanced budget that keeps taxes low while making smart investments in new affordable housing, better transportation, public safety, Greenest City action, and improved parks and public spaces.

“I encourage all residents to take a look and offer the ideas and input we need to keep building an even better Vancouver in which to live, work, and raise a family.” 

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