Calgary Climate Strategy

Calgary Climate Strategy – Pathways to 2050

Achieving community-level outcomes through City and community action.

Our strategy


The Climate Strategy is our North Star for a net zero and climate-resilient Calgary. It builds on the existing strategy and aligns with the Council Climate Emergency declaration to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 and adapt to our changing climate at an accelerated pace and scale.

What do we mean by net zero emissions?

Net zero means cutting greenhouse gas emissions to as close to zero as possible (such as upgrading homes or switching to zero emissions vehicles), with any remaining emissions being removed from the atmosphere (through planting of trees or other forms of carbon capture). 

What does it mean to adapt to our changing climate?

Climate adaptation refers to actions that reduce the negative impact of climate change (severe storms, floods, droughts, and extreme heat) while taking advantage of potential new opportunities.

A plan that makes sense


Over the next 30 years, industries, businesses, and Calgarians will be upgrading their operations, buildings, vehicles, and homes. Calgarians are already upgrading and replacing their windows, adding higher efficiency furnaces and insulation as well as purchasing electric and low emission vehicles. Their decisions for better efficiencies contribute to our city moving toward net zero.

We are also preparing to reduce the negative impacts of climate change on people, buildings, infrastructure, and the natural environment. The plan ensures we reduce the disruption to City services and infrastructure that provide core services to Calgarians including roadways, transit, pathways, public facilities, and emergency services.

The Climate Strategy provides a clear pathway to lead Calgarians in their decisions. We need a plan now to be ready to support Calgarians with the programs, guidance, funding opportunities and resources to help us all achieve net zero and reduced climate risk, together.

We will be targeting a small number of buildings and vehicles over the next few years and work with Calgary's building and development industries. We want to learn and innovate together to reduce technology costs and prepare designers, planners, engineers, inspectors, and tradespeople to provide the services needed. Funding is becoming more and more available while the cost of technology is coming down. Industry in Calgary has already proven that they have the ability to build and renovate to net zero. Clear policy signals will provide industry with the necessary guidance to invest in new technology to support Calgarians. 

Calgarians get a good return on investment – $60-80 billion in energy savings by 2050


Moving to a low carbon economy will yield $60-80 billion in energy cost savings to Calgarians by 2050. Hitting the net zero target for 2050 will require approximately $87 billion in investments in low carbon technology across Calgary from all orders of government, industry, businesses, and individuals. That is a big number to comprehend, but it is the order of magnitude that cities in Canada and around the world accept as a realistic cost to meet that emission goal.

That effort is shared by everyone including The City, industry, businesses and Calgarians. It comes from efforts when The City and industry upgrade operations and buildings; when Calgarians purchase more electric vehicles and more energy efficient homes; and when other orders of government provide grants and capital dollars to cities so they can achieve the net-zero target.

Doing nothing comes with an even higher cost. Without global mitigation and local adaptation action, the impacts from severe climate events on infrastructure, the economy and health care in Calgary, are estimated to cost a $2.6 billion annually by the 2050s and $7.8 billion annually by the 2080s.

Showing funders we have a plan


An approved Strategy positions The City to bring in funding from other orders of government and the private sectors. It shows the world and industry that Calgary is positioned to be a leader in managing climate change and is a city where industry can invest, confidently set up shop and transition to net-zero by 2050.

We are getting Calgary ready for the economic transition that we know is coming and mobilizing both the public and private sector to be ready for the future.  

Next Steps


Research and modeling


The following research and modeling documents informed the proposed Calgary Climate Strategy – Pathways to 2050.

Mitigation research and modeling

2021 Emissions Modelling Reference Document

The 2021 Emissions Modelling Reference Document is a supporting document for The City of Calgary Climate Mitigation Action Plan. This document describes the Low Carbon Economy (LCE) model version 2021, an integrated emissions and economic model for Calgary’s key emission areas of buildings and transportation based on the Low Carbon Economy (LCE) model version 2018.

Climate Mitigation Best Practices White Paper: 2021

This paper captures the state of climate mitigation best practices in municipal planning.

Best Practice Study on Climate-related Building Standards

This report summarizes Mantle Developments’ (Mantle) study for the City of Calgary (Calgary) on the best practices for climate-related building standards implemented by Canadian municipalities. The key objective of this study was to identify program design elements that are needed to drive decisive climate action to inform the City’s development and implementation of a climate-related building standard. The research includes both new construction and retrofit building standards for commercial, residential, and institutional buildings.

Adaptation research and modeling

Climate projections for Calgary 2022

A detailed analysis of climate modelling to better understand the changing climate and associated impacts on the people in our community, built infrastructure, the natural environment and the economy.

Climate Adaptation Best Practices White Paper: 2021

Documents the state of climate adaptation best practices in municipal planning to inform the City of Calgary Climate Strategy 2022 and Climate Adaptation Action Plan 2022.

Vulnerability Risk Assessment Report

An in-depth research project which provided information about climate change risks and actions for climate resilience in Calgary.

Community Climate Risk Index

Summarizes climate risk and provides insight into geographic and community-specific drivers of climate.

Natural Asset Valuation Assessment

An in-depth research project which provided information about climate change risks and actions for climate resilience in Calgary.

Costs of Inaction: Economic Analysis of Calgary's Climate Risk

A study detailing the economic consequences of climate change in a future Calgary and providing economic justification and prioritization for climate adaptation investment that can reduce these impacts.

Terminology

Other supporting reference documents

Important Resources

2021 Citizen Perspectives Survey Report on Climate Change 

The City of Calgary surveys citizens about their opinions, preferences and attitudes. This report presents the results of the 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021 surveys on extreme weather, home energy efficiency, and climate change.

Funding climate action in the City of Calgary report

Funding climate action is challenging as there is no single source of funding or single mechanism that will allow municipalities to meet their climate goals. A coordinated effort across all City departments, the federal and provincial governments, and the private sector will be required. This report identifies mechanisms available to The City for funding, financing, and supporting climate action in Calgary, highlights the current projects and programs that are leveraging external funding opportunities, and identifies new opportunities for The City to explore.

Climate Equity

Indigenous Perspective

Climate Strategy engagement

Calgarians were invited to provide their perspectives on climate change impacts and actions. Learn more at Calgary.ca/ClimateUpdate.

City climate program

Read more about Calgary's Climate Program.