Valerie Plante uses speech at United Nations to call for drastic greenhouse gas reductions
Published Monday, September 23, 2019 8:33AM EDT
Last Updated Monday, September 23, 2019 6:35PM EDT
Speaking at a climate change conference at the United Nations on Monday, Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante said cities must take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Plante said that after multiple global conferences there is no longer any doubt what must be done to limit the effects of climate change: what is necessary is the will to apply it.
"We have to rely on sustainable mobility by offering improved active and collective transportation, put an end to our dependence on solo car trips, and electrify transportation," said Plante.
"The Secretary-General has set a target for states to reduce their emissions by 2030 and commit to being completely carbon neutral by 2050," said Plante. "I'm ready to go further."
She said Montreal hopes to cut emissions by 55 percent by 2030, doing so in part by banning oil heating in the city in the next decade.
Plante said that while two-thirds of people around the world will live in cities by 2050, it will be impossible for cities to take steps on their own, and so they must have help from other levels of government and from the private sector.
Urban park instead of housing development
To that end Plante pointed out several other recent steps taken by her administration in conjuction with the provincial and federal governments to create a large urban park
"Rather than destroying hundreds of hectares of natural spaces and wetlands, we will create the largest urban park in Canada, eight times the size of Central Park," said Plante.
This Friday Plante said she will join the tens of thousands of people expected to march in Montreal as part of the Global Climate Strike.
This week the United Nations is hosting a General Assembly on Climate Change, where world leaders are discussing what steps will be taken to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement.
According to the agreement dozens of countries around the world have agreed to ensure the average temperature rise this century will remain below two degrees Celsius.
Greta Thunberg admonishes leaders
U.N. Secretary General Antonio Gutteres was the first to speak Monday morning, followed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the Prime Ministers of New Zealand and India, and several other mayors.
Guterres began by saying that nature is angry and warned that nature always strikes back.
He then recapped the evidence of the hottest summer ever in many parts of the world, coming after the five hottest years on the books ever.
Guterres offered proof that natural disasters are multiplying with more storms causing more damage, describing it as "apocalyptic."
"Earth is issuing a chilling cry: Stop."
Sixteen-year-old climate change activist Greta Thunberg then criticized world leaders for wasting time on a crucial issue that affects every.
"How dare you," she cried, time and time again.
"This is all wrong. I shouldn't be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you have come to us young people for hope. How dare you. You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words," said Thunberg.
"We will not let you get away with this. Right now is where we draw the line."