cityscape

One headline stands out among others balking at Harper’s bold move pulling Canada out of the international Kyoto Protocol: “B.C. responds to Kyoto withdrawal with a shrug” (The Globe & Mail, Dec. 14)

A shrug? Amidst all the clenched fists and raised neck veins coast to coast– this indifferent, non-vexed gesture? Canadians everywhere are shaming away out of the spotlight shed on the country for Harper pulling us out of the international agreement to save environmental face. What silver lining allows for this?

“[The withdrawal] really doesn’t impact British Columbia because we’ve got our own climate action targets” — Environment Minister Terry Lake.

One is the Greenest City initiative, the saving grace of Vancouver’s fight to set the pace on living smart and sustainable—an initiative that lives and breathes despite whether or not the federal government has its feet on terra firma. The Greenest City Action plan is an intensive city-wide program of projects with an end target goal of reducing the city’s greenhouse-gas emissions by 33% by 2020 (from 1990). Its 85 initiatives include undertakings such as: Verticrop—where 95 tonnes of greens a year will grow atop a parking garage smack dab in downtown, (C3) Campus-City Collaborative to update sustainability reaches on number of GVR campuses, and hosting the International Cities Summit for sustainability in February 2012.

Newly re-elected Mayor Gregor Robertson said at his inaugural speech last Monday:

“[The people of Vancouver] know that future belongs to those who have the courage to try new things, and yes, to admit mistakes. But also to persevere in the face of setbacks and difficulty… Vancouver’s bright future relies on our compassion for each other, on our commitment to all those who come next, and on our determination to succeed together. That’s the strength of this city.”

And so the cheese stands alone.

Related:   On The Lack of Parks and Recreation

Read more about Vancouver’s Greenest City Action Plan here.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Jessica,

    while Vancouver as well as most likely other provinces across Canada are engaging in green initiatives on a local level, I had seen on yesterday’s news broad cast that many of the European Countries such as France, Germany, and the UK have not only vilified us for Harper’s decision to pull out of the Kyoto accord but have also started to boycott Canadian business orders. In fact, one French Canadian glass company was documented on that news segment as saying that their business has been cut and that they are facing challenges due to our position on the world stage. This is very unfortunate because the Europeans are painting us with a broad stroke without being fully aware of all of the other initiatives that we are currently contributing to such as the ones that you have talked about in regards to Vancouver. This decision to start to boycott Canadian business offerings can potentially cost those businesses and our economy billions of dollars, the same reason Harper had decided to withdraw from Kyoto knowing that our participation in the oil and gas industry would likely cost us billions (actual figure given 13 billion) in penalties for being in violation of our part of the agreement. Without a doubt, it is a bit of a messy situation, one which will be costly to us in one form or the other but one that is also likely to pass in time as we will most likely make the EU aware that even though we have not honored our agreement on the world stage we are still honoring it on a local level and have every intention of doing our part in our own way regardless of the Harper Government’s stance on global warming.

  2. Hi Samir,

    Thank you for your info! I wholeheartedly agree with you re: the severity of the Kyoto pull’s effects globally and onto countless people, industries and nations. Despite the Green Action Plan and the like, Harper’s move was indeed as you explained above very far-reaching as well as both “messy” and “unfortunate”, and it is both wonderful to see provinces stand by their own initiatives despite the feds, and a shame to see them HAVE to stand by their own initiatives despite the feds.

    Here’s to hoping Harper saw the same news broadcast you did, and also that this pull, and these boycotts, will pass 🙂

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