Montreal, the most sustainable city in the world?

Montréal , the most sustainable city in the world? /></p>
<p>Due to its energy consumption coming from 99.95% renewable sources, Montreal is the most sustainable city in the world, according to a ranking produced by <em>Comparethemarket</em>, a energy market analysis group. Vancouver, in fourth position, is the only other Canadian city to appear on the list.</p>
<p>To establish its ranking, <em>Comparethemarket</em> evaluates the percentage of the energy consumed by the city that comes from renewable sources, as well as air quality and the number of parks it has.</p>
<p>So does Montreal deserve a pat on the back? Not necessarily, if we rely on the analysis of the expert in sustainable development at the Hautes Etudes Commerciales (HEC) Jean-Michel Champagne. If the “data collected has informative value, it can hardly be used to assess the sustainability of a city”, he believes.</p>
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[Rankings kind,] you have to take them with a grain of salt.

Jean-Michel Champagne, expert in sustainable development at HEC

Already, the evaluation of energy consumption as a criterion of sustainability is problematic on a certain level. “No energy is perfect; the best energy is that which we do not consume, says Mr. Champagne. In the ranking, Tokyo has 0% renewable energy consumption, but it’s yet a very clean and energy efficient city compared to Montreal.”

Thus, when we look at “consumption per capita”, Montreal would do very poorly in the world, according to the expert, who also recalls that if the energy consumed by Montreal is renewable, it’s because of the provincial infrastructures. which are based on hydroelectricity.

A problematic measure

If public authorities can have an impact on air quality, such as Montreal which imposes “severe anti-pollution controls”, part of it remains difficult to control, recalls Mr. Champagne.

Thus , Montreal has the “geographical advantage” of being in a territory where pollution disperses more easily. “Mexico City, which is one of the most polluted cities in the world, is so in particular because it is located in a basin in the mountains, where the particles remain trapped”, believes Mr. Champagne.

< p>By putting Montreal at the top of the ranking, we “wrongly imply that it is better than another,” laments the expert. The problem, according to him, is that we do not take into account the fact that since Montreal is a “service industry and not production, our pollution is made elsewhere”. On the other hand, Mexico City would be more polluted, among other things, because “its industry is one of production”. The goods produced there are resold elsewhere, such as in Montreal.

“We could not use this ranking to congratulate public authorities; it is not a question of choice”, concludes the researcher in sustainable development.

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