The federal government’s position on climate change is damaging Canada’s international status, Mayor David Miller said on the eve of his departure for the Copenhagen climate change conference.

“Our reputation for being a progressive country is being severely harmed internationally,” Miller told reporters yesterday.

“I’m the chairman of an international group of cities — 20 from developed countries and 20 from developing (countries),” he said.

“If you listen to mayors from developing countries, they’re incredibly passionate because they’re seeing the flooding — they’re seeing the results already from climate change, and they know we have to act.

“They’re raising questions about Canada’s position.”

Since he took office, Miller has introduced a green plan for Toronto that sets ambitious targets for reducing emissions that lead to climate change, increasing so-called green energy usage and encouraging retrofitting of city homes and businesses to make them more energy-efficient.

The targets would be for both the city government itself and the community at large. He pledged to slash the city’s greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent by 2020 and a whopping 80 per cent by 2050.

Miller this week signed a climate change petition and urged others to follow his example. The online petition, at, calls on governments to seal a climate change deal and to commit to binding targets for greenhouse gas reduction by 2020.

“Canadians need to speak up,” he said. “We need to show the world leaders that actions are happening in Canada,” he said.

“When our national government fails to lead, cities must lead. We can lead and we are leading.”

Miller said he hopes the federal government will take a strong stance.