Statement by FCM president Raymond Louie on conclusion of the COP21 climate conference in Paris (15/12/2015)
On behalf of Canada's municipalities and the millions of people who live in our cities and communities from coast, to coast, to coast, I want to applaud the international community for accepting an agreement on climate change at the COP21 conference in Paris. The commitment to limit global temperature increases in the coming decades is great news for the entire planet. The Federation of Canadian Municipalities welcomes this historic accord and looks forward to continuing our work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and implement the green technologies that make all of our lives better while improving the economy.
The delegation of mayors and municipal councillors I led to Paris as FCM President returned from the conference more optimistic and reenergized than ever in our commitment to continue the fight against climate change. During the conference we joined local government representatives from around the world to discuss how best to implement the ambitious goals being worked out by our national government partners. That included an unprecedented meeting of hundreds of local mayors and councillors at Paris City Hall as part of the Climate Summit for Local Leaders on December 4.
We cannot forget that the measures needed to limit GHG emissions will be created and implemented at the local level. Cities and communities will continue to be the drivers of this environmental shift and the move toward a greener economy. Municipal governments were among the first to realize that the activities we all take part in every day, from getting to work in the morning, to throwing away our trash, to simply turning on the lights, contribute to climate change. That is why we have led through solutions like better public transit, cleaner more efficient energy production, more electric vehicles, and better waste management.
Paris was also a rewarding experience because of our work with our Federal partners. The new government's renewed dedication to an international climate framework was a breath of fresh air. Our work with the other members of the official Canadian delegation to the COP21 conference really felt as if "Team Canada" had arrived at the Paris talks. I would particularly like to congratulate Federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna for her work during the conference and for her successful efforts to have the crucial role of local governments included in the final agreement.
Big things begin at home. Fighting climate change means cleaner air for us to breathe, cleaner water for our children to drink, and yes, faster commute times as well. I now look forward to moving ahead with our federal and provincial partners to continue developing creative solutions that protect the environment and create good sustainable jobs. Together we can ensure that Canada achieves its environmental goals on the international stage while improving the daily lives of all Canadians and their families here at home.