We want to hear from you

SHARE YOUR IDEAS

The City of Calgary acknowledges the impacts of climate change and is updating the Climate Strategy and Action Plans to make sure we’re establishing the best approach to enable climate action. This is an opportunity to help Calgarians better understand climate change and The City's commitment to climate action. We invite your perspective and it will be considered as one of many inputs into our updated strategy.

Please share your perspective below

Click the button that describes you, whether you are : 1. An individual Calgarian, 2. Represent a social service agency, or 3. Are a business-owner

ABOUT THE PROJECT

What climate change means for Calgary

Climate change hazards have worrying implications for cities. Climate modelling indicates Calgary is experiencing and will continue to experience climatic changes and an increased frequency and severity of extreme weather events such as extreme heat, heavy rainfall, drought, severe storms, river flooding, increasing average temperature as well as wildfire. These hazards threaten the health and wellness of Calgarians, our infrastructure and natural ecosystems, and our economic prosperity. That's why we're preparing to reduce our vulnerabilities to these hazards.

The benefits of climate action

The costs of climate impacts will continue to grow across Canada. There’s a strong business case showing the benefits of proactive investment to prepare for climate change outweigh the costs. For example, national research tells us that for every dollar we invest to reduce our vulnerability to climate hazards such as flooding, we can expect to save approximately $6 in future costs to recover from such events. As we continue to see more frequent and severe extreme weather events, the case for accelerated action only becomes stronger. Additionally, actions that reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions offer opportunities for cost savings, increased comfort and livability, and enable the transition to a low carbon economy.

Climate action and climate risk disclosure reporting demonstrates the ways in which The City is preparing to support economic growth, attract new business and investors, reduce long-term costs and damages due to climate change, and build Calgary’s reputation as a low-carbon and climate-resilient city.

How The City of Calgary is responding to climate change

Cities have a critical role to play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions to help limit global climate change, as well as adapting to the risks posed by a changing climate. The City of Calgary recognizes climate change poses risks to our city both now and in the future, and is committed to taking action to address climate change. You can learn about the progress we've made in our 2020 Annual Report.

Consistent polling data tells us the majority (80 per cent) of Calgarians are concerned about climate change and most (68 per cent) agree ‘we need to act now to address climate change.’ In November 2021, Calgary City Council voted to declare a Climate Emergency. This means Calgary has joined a global community taking action on climate change. City Council has also provided direction to accelerate the pace and scale of our work to respond to the climate emergency.

Updating our Climate Strategy and Action Plans

The Climate Strategy and Action Plans, initially approved by Calgary City Council on June 25, 2018, are being updated in 2022 to reflect the latest climate science, international and national obligations, and feedback received from Calgarians. The updated strategy will identify critical actions, tools and programs needed in the next five years to:

  • reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050;
  • reduce the impacts of climate change on the health and wellness of Calgarians;
  • reduce the impacts of climate change on the economy, social systems, infrastructure and natural ecosystems;
  • integrate climate equity; and
  • support a low carbon economy.

Process to updating the Climate Strategy

The update to the Climate Strategy has been a phased process. Since the summer of 2021, the Climate project team has been working closely with various technical groups to assess and evaluate components for the Strategy update. This assessment included looking at greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction potential of various actions, updated climate science and high level climate equity considerations. In addition, it also included an assessment of the climate change-related socio-economic and natural infrastructure impacts, and the best practices used to address those impacts.

Stakeholder input is one of many sources of information for this update. This input, coupled with updated climate science and climate best practices, will help inform the updates required to achieve the overall objectives of this project.

WHY YOU ARE IMPORTANT

Your input, and the input of other citizens and stakeholders, helps The City understand people’s perspectives, opinions, and concerns. Input collected in each phase of the project will be compiled and shared through a What We Heard report. Personally identifying information, profanity and comments that do not meet The City's Respectful Workplace Policy or the Online Tool Moderation Practice will be removed.

Although it would be a great outcome, the goal of public engagement is not to reach consensus or make everyone happy. Public engagement is also not about voting or collecting representative information. Public engagement is about considering the input, ideas and perspectives of people who are interested or impacted by decisions, before decisions are made.

To learn more about engagement at The City, visit engage.calgary.ca/about.


FAQs

The City of Calgary is updating our greenhouse gas reduction target to align with the federal net zero target by 2050. This target would apply not only to existing City buildings, but to all City-owned and operated buildings, facilities and fleets. The City is currently developing a Corporate Energy and Greenhouse Gas Plan to achieve the updated net zero target. The City is also exploring using our Charter authority to implement energy performance standards for new buildings beyond what is required in the provincial building code.

The City of Calgary Climate Emergency Declaration directs The City to work with its civic partners and subsidiaries to align with City of Calgary climate targets to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The City will continue to work with ENMAX to advance clean electricity as zero carbon electricity is critically important for Calgary to reach its net zero targets by 2050. However, actions such as time-of-use pricing and other actions that affect electricity pricing in Calgary are outside the jurisdiction of the City of Calgary to direct or enact.

The importance of land use planning will remain a critical component of the updated strategy. The strategy will provide direction on City Building practices and the importance of managing growth. With respect to new growth in particular (greenfield), proposals that will come before Council to advance new community development will include information on the impacts to established climate targets and goals to help inform Council decisions.

A draft will not be shared with the general public prior to it being presented to Council in Q2 2022. The general public will have an opportunity to speak to it through the public hearing process at Council. External stakeholder engagement has been ongoing with community experts such as, but not limited to utilities, insurance industry, development and building industry, academia, Chamber of Commerce, Calgary Economic Development, Colliers, the Calgary Airport Authority, Calgary Climate Hub, equity-deserving groups and social service agencies.

Emissions from City-owned building and vehicles represent about four per cent of city-wide greenhouse gas emissions. The City has a Corporate Energy and Greenhouse Gas Plan that is specific to reducing emissions in City-owned and operated facilities and fleet. The emissions targets for the corporate plan are also being updated to align to achieving net zero emission by 2050, and the updated plan will be brought to Council for approval in Q2 2022 alongside the city-wide Climate Mitigation Action Plan.

In short - no. The Climate Strategy, and its associated adaptation and mitigation action plans build on the great work that was started in 2018. The plans will include updated actions for programs that were initiated in the original strategy, but also new actions and priorities that are more relevant for where we are today. The updated Climate Strategy will also include updated targets, such as the move to a net zero target for greenhouse gas emissions, and the actions in our plans will have to be adjusted to address those new targets.

Yes. Significant work has been done to identify targets and indicators to track The City’s progress towards our Climate goals. Those indicators will be included in the updated Climate Strategy, and will also be reported to Council as part of the annual reporting process already in place.

The emissions modelling that the City of Calgary is updating to inform the updated action plan includes the cost per ton of emissions reduction. This information is being used to estimate the cost of achieving net zero by 2050. The costs estimates will also be used to help prioritize actions; however, we recognize that implementing only the cost-effective solutions will not get us on track to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. It will be necessary to invest in ambitious, and potentially expensive, solutions.

Calgary Economic Development has identified that in order for Calgary to remain an innovative and globally competitive city, it is necessary to set (and attempt to achieve) ambitious climate action targets. It is necessary to attract and retain businesses and innovators in the modern global economy. Many of the solutions identified in the Climate Mitigation Action Plan have economic development benefits. Not taking action on climate change will likely have a greater financial impact on Calgarians than proactively implementing climate change solutions.

Yes. The updated Climate Mitigation Action Plan will identify milestones in specific sectors that are necessary to achieve to be on track to net zero emissions by 2050.

The City is currently working on a high-level assessment of this cost. We hope to bring this assessment, which is the cost of inaction or the anticipated cost of climate change impacts on our city if we do nothing, to Council along with the updated Climate Strategy in 2022. A more in-depth analysis of the cost of taking action on climate change will be developed in the future as one of the actions in the updated strategy.

Yes. The Climate Emergency Declaration passed by Council in November 2021 clearly states that:

  • That The City of Calgary makes climate change a strategic priority by accelerating the timelines for climate action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, updating the city-wide and corporate greenhouse gas reduction target to be net zero emissions by 2050 to help limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius;
  • That The City of Calgary will develop strategic business plans and budgets across all departments that invest in and accelerate high priority emissions reduction and climate risk reduction opportunities.

New community business cases will include the potential impacts proposed developments may have on climate change and how they propose to mitigate those impacts.

Yes, we work with other municipal jurisdictions to share knowledge, experiences and best practices, including but not limited to the Cities of Edmonton, Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal.

The city will be providing a task force on climate-related financial disclosure (TCFD) analysis in the 2021 financial report, describing governance, strategy, risk management and metrics and targets for climate planning. The goal of this TCFD reporting is to be transparent about climate-related risk information for external stakeholders, and to document the ways in which the City is preparing to support economic growth and build Calgary’s reputation as a low-carbon and resilient city.

Climate modelling indicates Calgary is experiencing and will continue to experience climatic changes and an increased frequency and severity of extreme weather events such as extreme heat, heavy rainfall, drought, severe storms, river flooding, increasing average temperature as well as wildfire.

The City of Calgary is committed to taking action to address climate change.

Climate change hazards have worrying implications for cities. Cities have a critical role to play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions to help limit global climate change, as well as adapting to the risks posed by a changing climate.

The City of Calgary recognizes climate change has implications for our city both now and in the future. The majority of Calgarians are concerned about climate change and are supportive of climate action.

The updated Climate Strategy and Action Plans will identify critical actions, tools and programs needed in the next five years to:

  • reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050;
  • reduce the impacts of climate change on the health and wellness of Calgarians, the economy, social systems, infrastructure and natural ecosystems; and
  • support a low carbon economy.

The Climate Strategy and Action Plans, originally approved by City Council June 25, 2018, is being updated to reflect the latest climate science, international and national obligations, and feedback received from Calgarians. Additionally, Calgary City Charter requires Action Plans to be updated every five years. We’re updating the Climate Strategy to make sure we’re establishing the best approach to enable climate action.

The costs of climate impacts will continue to grow across Canada. There’s a strong business case showing the benefits of proactive investment to prepare for climate change outweigh the costs. For example, national research tells us that for every dollar we invest to reduce our vulnerability to climate hazards such as flooding, we can expect to save approximately $6 in future costs to recover from such events. As we continue to see more frequent and severe extreme weather events, the case for accelerated action only becomes stronger. Additionally, actions that reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions offer opportunities for cost savings, increased comfort and livability, and enable the transition to a low carbon economy.

Climate action and climate risk disclosure reporting demonstrates the ways in which The City is preparing to support economic growth, attract new business and investors, reduce long-term costs and damages due to climate change, and build Calgary’s reputation as a low-carbon and climate-resilient city.

The City Charter requires that The City have a Climate Mitigation and Adaptation Action Plan. Our climate work also needs to align with provincial and federal regulations, and international obligations. Federal net-zero targets are a driving factor in the update to the Climate Strategy and all climate mitigation (greenhouse gas reduction) actions that follow.

As Calgary moves towards a low carbon economy and Net Zero by 2050, new initiatives and policies may be put in place to help Calgarians minimize their carbon footprint. Your participation in future climate change programs will be key to achieving Net Zero.

GLOSSARY

Adaptation: Action to manage the risks of climate change impact.

Capacity: The ability of an individual, group, organization, or government to contribute to problem solving.

Carbon Budget: The cumulative amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) emission allowed over a period of time to keep within a certain temperature limit. (e.g. 2 degrees global temperature increase).

Climate Emergency Declaration: A commitment by a City to support action to combat global climate change that is recognized by cities and organizations all around the world. Unlike a Local State of Emergency, the Climate Emergency Declaration does not give municipalities special powers during disaster events.

Climate equity: Means working towards the just distribution of the benefits of climate actions and alleviating unequal burdens created or worsened by climate change.

Equality: Based on an understanding that human beings should have equal rights / quality of life. It means everyone gets the same thing.

Equity: Means everyone gets what they need.

Justice: Means the cause(s) of inequity are removed.

Low Carbon Economy: An economy based on energy sources that produce low level of greenhouse gas emissions.

Mitigation: Action to reduce emissions that cause climate change.

Net Zero: Used to describe when overall greenhouse gas emissions of an activity or building equals zero.

Responsibility: For contributing to climate change based on historic and current emissions


NEXT STEPS

City staff will compile and consider the perspectives received from stakeholders in a What We Heard Report that will be published to this webpage in February 2022.

The Climate team will then assess all inputs and formalize the Climate Strategy and Action Plan update.

In the spring of 2022, City staff will present a draft of the updated Climate Strategy to senior leadership, and then to City Council for consideration. Check back here for updates.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Learn more about climate change and the City of Calgary's Climate Program at Calgary.ca/ClimateProgram.

View the videos from our webinar series to learn more about climate change, electric vehicles, renewable energy and more.

Find out how you can reduce your energy use and prepare for climate change at Calgary.ca/ClimateAction.

Check out the Climate Ready Home Guide for your next home renovation, construction or maintenance project at Calgary.ca/ClimateReadyHome.

Learn about our Resilient Roofing Rebate Program at Calgary.ca/Hail.

Sign up to receive The City of Calgary's climate change updates.