Why is COP26 Important to cities?

In this session, climate leaders heading to Glasgow explored how cities can advance climate action through COP26.

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Un résumé des idées, des thèmes et des citations les plus convaincants de cette conversation franche

Climate and economy are two sides of the same coin

According to Juvarya Veltkamp, Director of Canada Climate Law Initiative, “you can’t address climate without fundamentally changing our economy, and to change the economy I think we need better tools to make decisions.” Juvarya emphasizes the need to understand currencies as more than just dollars and cents, but also carbon, social equity, ecosystem services, and natural capital. If climate mitigation and adaptation initiatives continue to be divorced from the multi-faceted necessities of economic transitions, they will keep falling short.


Shalaka Jadhav, Design and Community Manager at Youth Climate Lab, defines multi-solving as, “an approach to problem solving that uses an intersectional lens to look at how problems are connected to each other, and how solutions can be crafted to solve multiple issues at once.” Multi-solving can also be referred to as integrative planning, which combines multiple lenses from the fields of urban planning, climate change, biodiversity, economy, equity, reconciliation and justice. This comprehensive approach requires performative targets to evaluate the efficacy of programs and initiatives.

Elevating the position of cities

Across the board, panelists recognized Canadian cities as hubs of innovation. Climate strategies are determined at the international level, ratified by national governments, imposed on regions, and enacted at the municipal level. Cities have become global leaders in green initiatives. Rik Logtenberg, City Councillor for the City of Nelson, speaks to how Nelson provided expertise for to the federal government’s Greener Homes Program. Since the majority of peoples across the world live in urban environments, cities need to be included at the highest tables in order to develop effective solutions.

Alternative visions for a just transition

By Shauna Sylvester’s observation, the Generation Energy dialogues across Canada revealed that some of the most innovative thinking came from citizens who worked in the Albertan fossil fuel industry. Despite this, labour has often been neglected in climate adaptation and mitigation considerations. COP26 is an opportunity for cities to collect best case examples for a just transition. According to Juvarya, “We need that vision to show the alternative. Here’s how we’re going to re-train. Here’s how we’re going to get people shifting into the economy of the future.” A green future requires integrating labour so that nobody is left behind in the transition.

A rise to solve

With Canada warming twice as fast as the rest of the world, the moment for action is now. There is no longer a choice. Shalaka, in her work with the Youth Climate Lab, says that youth are tired of bending. The next generation of leaders are beginning to find their stride. No longer complacent with lip service they have chosen to lead with implementable actions based on the seven generations principle: decisions that we make today need to result in a sustainable world seven generations into the future. As international standards develop to incentivize sustainable practices, climate finance is becoming a promising tool.




C40 and the Global Covenant of Mayors – Race to Zero: https://www.c40knowledgehub.org/s/cities-race-to-zero/

SFU’s Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue – Canada’s Cities at COP26: http://www.citiescop26.ca/

SFU’s Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue – Daily Briefings: https://www.citiescop26.ca/roadtoglasgow/

Tzeporah Berman’s TED Talk on the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty: https://www.ted.com/talks/tzeporah_berman_the_global_treaty_to_phase_out_fossil_fuels

Youth Climate Lab & Climate Caucus – Infiltration Manual: https://www.youthclimatelab.org/infiltration-manual

Youth Climate Lab at COP26 – Upcoming audio blog series on multi-solving hosted by youth from the Global South: https://www.youthclimatelab.org/multi-solving/