Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Vancouver's Mayor Robertson Energized by Vatican Climate Conference

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Vancouver's Mayor Robertson Energized by Vatican Climate Conference

Article excerpt

Vatican climate talks energize Vancouver mayor

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VATICAN CITY - Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson says he'll return from a two-day Vatican climate conference prepared to pressure the federal government into adopting bold targets for carbon reductions before the upcoming federal election.

Robertson is the only Canadian among 60 global mayors gathered in Rome to promote Pope Francis' environmental encyclical, which denounced the fossil fuel-based world economy that exploits the poor and destroys the Earth.

Robertson said in a telephone interview from Rome on Tuesday that he met with delegates, listened to a talk from the Pope and signed a declaration that states "human-induced climate change is a scientific reality and its effective control is a moral imperative for humanity."

The mayor will speak to delegates Wednesday about the economic success Vancouver has seen by greening the city and tackling climate pollution.

"It's a huge honour to be invited into the Vatican, into the Pope's presence and have the most important political issues of our time addressed by such a key faith leader," said Robertson. "I think it's helped reinvigorate the spirit for a lot of us."

Shane Buckingham, media secretary for federal Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq, responded to Robertson's comments in an email, saying the current government is the first in Canadian history to achieve a net-reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

"We have set a fair and ambitious target for Canada that is in line with other major industrialized countries to achieve further emissions reductions leading up to 2030," he said.

Buckingham said the government's sector-by-sector approach includes responsible regulatory measures, such as phasing out traditional coal-fired electricity across Canada and making cars and light trucks more fuel efficient. …

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