City Councilors approved a strategy that guides the City of Calgary toward its goal of net-zero emissions by 2050.
On Tuesday night, city councilors voted 9-6 in favor of the updated climate plan, replacing their previous strategy in place since 2018.
Counts. Sean Chu, Sonya Sharp, Andre Chabot, Richard Pootmans, Jennifer Wyness and Dan McLean objected.
“Approving the climate plan is a step that allows the city administration to present us with a full action plan and supplemental budget in November,” Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek said after the council’s decision. “It was critical to move this forward so we can start to take some action.”
The 99-page document, titled Pathways to 2050, includes a mitigation plan to reduce emissions and an adaptation plan to help with the city’s resilience against more damaging weather events like the June 2020 hail storm.
According to Gondek, the strategy would integrate climate action into the functioning of the city.
“This strategy is intended to guide the action plans of all business units in the city to lead us to a more sustainable, greener and cleaner future,” said Gondek.
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If all the steps in the plan are taken, the report shows that a cumulative investment of $87 billion would be required by 2050, or $3.1 billion annually.
But the city administration said the costs reflected in the report are a cumulative investment of the entire economy and will not be fully covered by Calgary taxpayers.
The plan includes funding from other levels of government, the private sector, and actions by individual Calgarians.
“We all care about the environment, but at what cost? This is a pretty ambitious plan,” Ward 13 Coun. Dan MacLean said. “How much is that going to cost the average Calgarian?”
City councilors heard Tuesday that the city administration will present a clear implementation plan with what is feasible.
“We will absolutely have in front of you a clear proposition about what is achievable and what we think is affordable so that we can recommend to you so that you can make that decision,” Calgary City Planning and Development General Manager, Stuart Dalgleish. Advice.
But the council heard that inaction on climate change could exact a higher price in the future, with an estimated annual climate risk of $2.6 billion by 2050, rising to $8 billion per year by 2080.
Earlier in the day, around 100 climate activists gathered on the front steps of City Hall to encourage the council to give the strategy its blessing.
“This is a very important strategy, it’s about combating climate change, but it’s also about Calgary’s future prosperity,” said Rob Tremblay of the Calgary Climate Center. “It’s really important that the council knows that Calgarians are behind this.”
The city’s model shows that reaching net zero could generate “cumulative energy savings” of up to $80 billion for Calgarians, as well as generating $60 billion in gross domestic product by 2050.
“If you talk to any of the energy companies in our city, they all have clear goals, they have action plans on how they are going to achieve those goals,” Gondek said, “For a city government to say the same things, and moving from the In the same receptive way, capital markets pick up on those things.”
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The strategy projects that all registered vehicles in Calgary will be zero emissions by 2050, and aims to have all buildings in Calgary to a net zero emissions standard by the same year; 57 percent of Calgary’s total emissions come from energy used in the city’s residential, commercial and industrial buildings.
The local construction industry has criticized the feasibility of that part of the plan, which would require 19,000 homes and 317 commercial buildings to be remodeled at net zero each year.
“The public needs to accept this, Ward 6 Coun. said Richard Pootmans. “If the public isn’t in love, isn’t excited about the thrill of being their own self-generated, zero-emissions home, that’s a fantasy right now.”
The city administration said the strategy should be updated every five years, in accordance with the city’s budget cycles, to reflect evolving technologies.
More information on how the plan will be implemented is expected in November, when the city council prepares the budget for the next four years.
“I don’t think we should let perfection be the enemy of good.” Ward 3 Coun. Jasmine Mian said. “This is a good start.”
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