Calgary's Climate Program
The City of Calgary recognizes climate change has implications for our city both now and in the future. We know Calgarians are concerned about climate change, and we’re committed to building a 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.
- Calgary's Climate Resilience Strategy
- What is climate change?
- What does climate change mean for Calgary?
- How does Calgary contribute to climate change?
- 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?
- Calgary Climate Panel
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.
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:
- Reduce our contributions to climate change by improving energy management and reducing greenhouse gas emissions (climate change mitigation); and
- 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.
Updating our Strategy and Action Plans
Calgary City Charter requires that the Action Plans be reviewed and updated every five years. This work is currently underway, and the updated strategy and plans will be presented to City Council in 2022.
We will be updating our strategy and action plans to align with federal direction and are reprioritizing our program areas to better support our goals and priorities. Other key considerations for the update to the Climate Strategy and Action Plans includes, but is not limited to:
- Integration of new climate science, measures and indicators
- Integration of climate equity
- Integration of indigenous world view on climate change and environment
- Identifying critical actions (‘Big Moves’) for the next five years
- Establish the appropriate tools and programs needed to enable climate action
Check back regularly for updates on our progress and opportunities to get involved.
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.
What does climate change mean for Calgary?
Alberta has experienced significant changes to its climate in recent decades. Average annual temperatures in Alberta are expected to increase. We typically experience nine days per year where the temperature is 29°C or above, however, by 2050s we could experience 27 annual heat days and up to 49 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 likelihood and consequence of the local impacts of and risks from 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.
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?
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.
Funding and incentive programs
Other tools and resources
- Building a Climate-Resilient City Research Series
- Climate Atlas of Canada
- Climate Change Adaptation Research: Report Summary
- Climate Change Adaptation Research: Technical Report
- Climate Resilience Strategy Report 2019
- Economics of Low Carbon Development Report for Calgary: Full Report
- Government of Canada Environment and Climate Change
- Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
- Low Carbon Cities Canada
- Prairie Climate Centre
- Report: Global Warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius