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Calgary's Climate Program

Calgary's Climate Change Program

The City of Calgary recognizes climate change has implications for our city both now and in the future. Consistent polling data tells us the majority of Calgarians are concerned about climate change and support action to address climate change now. We’re committed to building a low-carbon and climate-resilient community.

We're working toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions to help limit global climate change, and adapting to a changing climate by taking actions to reduce the impact of extreme weather events and climatic changes.

We’re updating our Climate Strategy and Action Plans, and we want to hear from you. Provide your input today.

How to adapt to climate change

View a list of actions you can take to prepare for climate change. Visit How to Adapt to Climate Change.

Learn how to protect your home and property at Climate Ready Home Guide.

How you can limit global climate change

View actions you can take to reduce your energy use. Visit How You Can Limit Global Climate Change.

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Our Climate Resilience Strategy

Calgary City Council unanimously approved the Climate Resilience Strategy on June 25, 2018.

The Climate Resilience Strategy outlines The City’s strategies and actions to:

  1. Reduce our contributions to climate change by improving energy management and reducing greenhouse gas emissions (climate change mitigation); and
  2. Respond to a changing climate by implementing risk management measures to reduce the impact of extreme weather events and climatic changes on infrastructure and services (climate change adaptation).

The strategy also complies with federal and provincial regulations and identifies a greenhouse gas emissions target:

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

Taking action to reduce the impacts of 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.

The City is committed to delivering on a number of mitigation and adaption actions as part of this strategy. To learn more about the progress we’ve made so far, read our 2020 Annual Report.




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Climate Strategy and Action Plans Update

The Climate Resilience Strategy, initially approved by Council in 2018, is being updated in 2022 to reflect the latest climate science, best practices and international and national obligations. 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. 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;
  • reduce the impacts of climate change on the economy, social systems, infrastructure and natural ecosystems; and
  • support a low carbon economy.

We’re inviting you – and all Calgarians - to share your perspectives. We want to better understand how climate change is impacting you, and what climate change actions you value the most.

Register for our virtual event on Monday, December 6 from 6:30 to 8 p.m., where you can hear from the staff who are working on our Climate Strategy update and ask your questions. Visit our Engage Portal to provide your feedback about our Climate Strategy update.

Project Timeline

Summer 2021: Project is launched with chartering session to update the Climate Strategy

September 2021 to January 2022: Targeted engagement with City staff, Climate Panel and external stakeholders

November 29 to December 27: Calgarians are invited to provide their perspectives on climate change impacts and climate actions via the engage portal at calgary.ca/ClimateUpdate

December 6 from 6:30 to 8 pm: Virtual event to inform Calgarians about climate change in the Calgary context, and to provide an opportunity for members of the public to ask the project team questions about the Climate Strategy update

January to March 2022: Project team to complete analysis of feedback, climate science and best practices to update the Climate Strategy and Action Plans

Spring 2022: Updated Climate Strategy presented to senior City management and City Council for approval


Climate Emergency Declaration

On November 15, 2021 Calgary City Council voted to declare a Climate Emergency. A declaration of Climate Emergency is a resolution passed by a governing body such as a city council. It puts the local government on record in support of emergency action to respond to climate change, and recognizes the pace and scale of action needed.

More than 2,000 jurisdictions and local governments around the world representing more than one billion citizens have made Climate Emergency Declarations, including most major cities in Canada and the Government of Canada.

In Calgary, declaring a Climate Emergency means:

  • That The City of Calgary will become part of the global community (not-for-profit, public and private sectors) taking action on climate change through international initiatives such as the Global Covenant of Mayors, Resilient Cities Network, and Race to Zero, by adopting best practice and leveraging capital investment with the goal of becoming a global center of excellence in climate adaptation and mitigation, and energy transformation;
  • That The City of Calgary engage with First Nations, through the Indigenous Relations Office, to foster relations, ensure collaboration, integration of traditional knowledge and ensure intersectional Climate Change strategies;
  • That The City of Calgary makes climate change a strategic priority by accelerating the timelines to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, updating the city-wide and corporate greenhouse gas reduction target to be net zero emissions by 2050;
  • That The City of Calgary develop strategic business plans and budgets across all departments that identify, invest in and accelerate ideas such as high priority emissions reduction, climate risk reduction opportunities, and implementation of a carbon budget;
  • That Council direct that The City of Calgary to update agreements with civic partners and subsidiaries to support and ensure alignment with Calgary’s emissions reductions targets; and
  • That The City of Calgary will advocate for funding from all orders of government for the purposes of accelerating immediate and near-term actions to rapidly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reduce climate risk to public built and natural infrastructure, deliver upstream flood and drought mitigation on the Bow River, build community resilience, seek disaster risk reduction from climate change and support strategic opportunities for Calgary’s economy

View the Notice of Motion


What is climate change?

Climate change is a change in climate patterns, both globally and locally, caused by an increase in greenhouse gas emissions, produced primarily through the combustion of fossil fuels. This change has been occurring for an extended period of time (decades or longer) and is resulting in a shift in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events as well as a change in where these events might normally occur.

Climate change is a risk multiplier, increasing the severity and frequency of extreme weather events such as flooding, heat waves, winter storms, drought, wildfires and high wind events. Extreme weather events will continue to have increasing impacts on the way we live in terms of our health, natural ecosystems, transportation systems, food security, insurance and recovery costs, as well as how we design and build our homes and cities.

Historical Canadian climate data from 1898 to 2016 illustrates warming trend provided by the Prairie Climate Centre.

 


What does climate change mean for Calgary?

Climate Risks Profile Calgary

Alberta has experienced significant changes to its climate in recent decades. Average annual temperatures in Alberta are expected to increase. We typically experience six days per year where the temperature is 29°C or above, however, by the 2050s we could experience 27 annual heat days and 48 heat days by the 2080s, depending on global and local actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 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.

Climate modelling tells us that Calgary will experience more severe and frequent extreme weather events such as flooding, drought and the effects of wildfires.

Climate change hazards have worrying implications for cities, including impacts on city water resources, damage to and failure of infrastructure, threats to human health and increased mortality.

This diagram illustrates the eight key climate hazards that are being made more likely and/or severe due to climate change.


How does Calgary contribute to climate change?

In alignment with the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change, Calgary is doing 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 our city boundaries.

Everyday activities such as heating and lighting our homes, moving around the city and disposing of our waste all contribute to the challenge of climate change. Approximately two-thirds of the total greenhouse gas emissions in Calgary are caused by heating, lighting and power demands in buildings. The other third of emissions are due to transportation emissions (gasoline and diesel usage) and the remaining one per cent of emissions in Calgary come from methane 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 is The City of Calgary supporting greenhouse gas reductions?


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


What can I do about climate change?

Climate actions

Learn about more than 40 actions you can take to combat climate change. The list of actions have been evaluated using Calgary-specific greenhouse gas emissions data.

Visit Climate Actions for Calgarians.

Funding and incentive programs


Calgary Climate Panel

As part of the Climate Resilience Strategy, The City has brought together key stakeholders to form the Calgary Climate Panel.

This is not a formal committee of Council, but rather a collaboration between industry, community and The City.

The purpose of the Calgary Climate Panel is to provide strategic advice and support to facilitate the implementation of actions from the Climate Resilience Strategy.

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