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As Canada’s cities race against climate change, the urgency of finding solutions intensifies

Over the last six months, Canada's National Observer has been looking into what's working and what's failing in cities across Canada as they rise to the challenge of tackling climate change. In a 13-part series, we will be taking you across the country, province by province, for a look at how cities are meeting the climate emergency with sustainable solutions.

Part 1 of Sustainable Cities

By Sadhu Aufochs Johnston

As a species, we are facing an unprecedented crisis. I’ve spent the last 20 years tackling climate change within Chicago and Vancouver city governments and I know change is already upon us. To reduce global warming, cities have become leaders in curbing greenhouse gas emissions. They are on the front lines dealing with floods, heat waves, extreme storms and rising seas, and must be ready for the changes that are coming. The lives of their residents rely on it.

Since the 1980s, we have recognized human activity is changing the climate. In 2015, national governments around the globe reached the Paris Agreement, which set the target of reducing carbon pollution to ensure we don’t increase temperatures on the planet by more than two degrees Celsius above pre-industrialization levels. We are already at 1.2 degrees C. Unfortunately, with the pledges made under the agreement, we are on track for about 2.8 degrees C by the end of the century.

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