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Calgary's Climate Program

The City of Calgary facilitates City, citizen and business actions to reduce energy cost and greenhouse gas emissions, and prepare and adapt to the impacts of climate change.

The City of Calgary's Climate Program is designed to build climate resilience and specifically supports the City's vision and the 100 Resilient Cities framework. The program was established in 2017 as a commitment and approach to reducing climate risks and risk exposure as well as guiding the City towards a low carbon future.

Climate Change Program Banner

What is the Climate Resilience Strategy?

The Climate Resilience Strategy will outline The City’s strategies and actions to improve energy management and reduce greenhouse gas emissions (mitigation) as well as implement risk management measures in preparation for current and future climate impacts (adaptation).

To read the full strategy report or see the mitigation and adaptation actions The City is committed to completing, see Calgary Climate Actions.

The Climate Resilience Strategy includes a Climate Adaptation Plan, which will identify actions to reduce the impact of extreme weather events and climatic changes on infrastructure and services (e.g. disruption to transit services due to roadway flooding).

It also includes a Mitigation Plan, that identifies the actions to reduce emissions and improve energy management in Calgary in line with the long-term targets:

  • 20 per cent reduction in city-wide emissions below 2005 levels by 2020
  • 80 per cent reduction in city-wide emissions below 2005 levels by 2050

The Plan identifies opportunities for carbon reductions and energy management in key sectors, including buildings and energy systems, land-use and transportation, and consumption and waste needed to facilitate the successful transition to a low carbon future. Taking action to reduce climate change has the potential to also reduce energy expenditures, improve comfort and livability, improve health and reduce carbon levy costs for citizens, businesses and The City.

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Why do we need a Climate Resilience Strategy?

Climate Risks Profile Calgary
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Alberta has experienced significant changes in its climate in recent decades. Average annual temperatures are increasing significantly, increasing from 8 days to 9-to-34 heat days over 28°C by the 2050s and 22-to-68 days by the 2080s, depending on global and local actions to reduce carbon pollution. Just as a fever can be dangerous in our body, a change of a few degrees can have significant and dangerous impacts on the climate.

These climactic changes are expected to lead to a host of hazards, such as increasing severity and frequency of extreme weather events including more severe flooding, drought and storm events. These hazards have worrying implications for cities, including impacts on city water resources, failures of infrastructure when design assumptions are exceeded by changing conditions, impacts on human health and mortality.

This diagram illustrates the likelihood and consequence of the local impacts of and risks from climate change.

How does Calgary contribute to climate change?

Climate change is caused by greenhouse gas emissions, primarily through the combustion of fossil fuels. In alignment with the Pan-Canadian Framework on clean growth and climate change, Calgary is playing its part to reduce emissions and drive clean growth. In Calgary, we track the amount of greenhouse gas emissions added to the atmosphere every year through activities that happen within Calgary city boundaries.

Everyday activities such as heating and lighting our homes, moving around the city and disposing of our waste all contribute to the problem of climate change. In 2016, 62 per cent of the total greenhouse gas emissions in Calgary were as a result of heating, lighting and power demands in buildings. Thirty-seven per cent of emissions were due to transportation emissions (gasoline and diesel usage), and the remaining one per cent was from methane emissions from our landfills.

City of Calgary operations (our buildings and facilities, our fleet, our landfills) represent four per cent of the total emissions in Calgary. The remaining 96 per cent comes from the residential, commercial, industrial and institutional sectors in Calgary.

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Calgary Traffic Picture
Calgary Suburbs Picture

How can municipalities respond to climate change?

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The research series Building a Climate-Resilient City by the Prairie Climate Centre, in collaboration with the cities of Calgary and Edmonton, outlines steps cities can take to engage in climate risk management in a range of areas, including transportation, agriculture, electricity infrastructure, disaster preparedness and emergency management.

Council approved the Climate Resilience Strategy (CRS) and Action Plans on June 25, 2018. The recommended actions comply with federal and provincial regulations, reduce the impact of extreme weather events and climatic changes on infrastructure and services, and identify ways to improve energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

How is The City of Calgary supporting greenhouse gas reductions?

What else is the City of Calgary doing to prepare for climate change?

Climate change tools and resources for citizens