Ward 7 - Terry Wong

Calgary Climate Strategy Pathway to 2050

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On Tuesday, June 7, 2022, City Council may be asked to table discussion on the Calgary Climate Strategy & Action Plan – Pathways to 2050 thus postponing the debate and vote until an upcoming Combined Meeting of City Council. This is to allow Council more tiame between the Committee and the Council meeting and the opportunity to review inputs received during the public hearing.

Though City Administration and the Ward 7 office share the same vision to meet necessary targets to reduce city-wide emissions to net-zero by 2050; there needs to be greater clarity and alignment on the environmental and economic considerations and on financial and performance accountability. Administration previously estimated Pathways to require a cumulative investment of approximately $87 billion by 2050 or $3.1 billion annually for mitigation measures such as building renewable energy retrofits and zero-emissions mobility but I was not presented with a clear action plan or budget. My expectation was for Pathways to 2050 to be a roadmap to engage citizens on how to best shape a city we want to build and allow Calgarians to guide policymakers through the process. Unfortunately, this was not what was presented by Administration and I cannot in good conscience vote yes until further information and plan details are received. I intend to ask Administration for clarity on the economics of this strategy and a more specific and robust action plan to achieve the climate mitigation targets discussed during City’s Climate Emergency Declaration last November and the December 14th 2021 Notice of Motion – Building Accountability into the Declaration of a Climate Emergency and Call to Action raised by Councillor Walcott and Councillor Wyness.

Certainly, there is disagreement on the tactics of how-to best resource greener policies and build new infrastructure. Having heard both sides of the debate in Chambers, through consultation with local activists, subject matter experts, and citizens, I am certain that we can be united in the same goal, which is to protect our beloved city and each other. 

During my campaign, many Ward 7 constituents were concerned about how global climate change affected rising global temperatures and an increase in extreme weather. Citizens expressed fears and heartfelt personal stories about the effects of the 2013 Calgary Flood, 2016 Fort McMurray Wildfire, the 2020 hailstorm, and the unprecedented scale of drought, heat and/or freezing temperatures over recent seasons. An overwhelming number of Calgarians did not question if Council is taking swift enough action but if we are actually too late to act to reverse the devasting environmental changes to our planet. They have expressed to me why this Pathway to 2050 Strategy is important to implement. Climate change is not a distant problem that only future generations need to bear. Experts agree that there is no quick fix to such a complex issue. My understanding is that to keep Calgarians safe for generations to come, a basic first step towards tackling the biggest issue in our lifetime is to introduce immediate broader-scale policies as well as encourage reasonable social changes, such as each of us being more aware of our energy use and investing in enhanced infrastructure. These actions will go a long way for environmental stewardship in addition to creating new jobs locally, stimulating the economy, and introducing energy-efficient subsidies to Calgarians for retrofitting their homes.

That said, I want to acknowledge some of the Ward 7 constituents who question if other urgent funding areas are eclipsed by this severe focus on climate strategy. I know that Climate Action may be a difficult ask of Calgarians, particularly at a time when so many live in economic uncertainty. These issues are top of mind for me and I am pushing to ensure the Climate Strategy does not overtake the ‘Safe Communities,’ ‘Vibrant Calgary,’ and ‘Affordable City’ initiatives I promised during my campaign. The environment cannot come without a focus on the economy, jobs, and maintenance of social standards. I have also met and will continue to meet with constituents who have very real uncertainties about how to meet their present basic needs – I understand that most Calgarians are not debating the legitimacy of climate science or what steps could be taken now to safeguard prosperity for the future but wish to maintain focus on keeping their household intact in the present. I hear you and I want to assure you that I am also challenging the way Council and City Administration talk about this issue: doom-and-gloom messaging isn’t working, and it is clear that shaming and fearful framing is not conducive to engagement. All thoughts are valid and I commend Calgarians for being sensitive towards families needing financial assistance and who are championing for economic relief for businesses negatively impacted by the pandemic. I believe that climate action is necessary and in equal measure, we must only act in a way that helps everyday citizens come out better together on the other side. 

Because climate action is complex and considering the nuances related to the social and economic shift to get to net-zero I am inviting Ward 7 constituents to keep the lines of communication open with me at every phase of this process. Follow this link and submit your feedback.

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Categories: Climate, Updates, Ward 7

This content represents the personal views and opinions of the Ward Councillor and should not be taken as a statement of policy of The City of Calgary. The inclusion of any external content does not imply endorsement by The City of Calgary.