Calgary's Climate Program

Calgary's Climate Change Program

The City of Calgary recognizes climate change has consequences for our city both now and in the future. Climate change poses risks to the health and wellness of Calgarians, the economy, public infrastructure and services, homes and private property, and natural ecosystems. While climate change is a complex challenge, tackling it presents opportunities to create new jobs in the low carbon economy, address social inequalities, reduce pollution, improve the comfort and livability of our buildings and city, decrease energy costs, and improve the health and wellness of Calgarians.

Responding to climate change is a strategic priority for the City of Calgary. Calgary City Council declared a Climate Emergency in November 2021, directing the pace and scale of action to be accelerated. Consistent polling data tells us the majority of Calgarians are concerned about climate change and support action to address climate change now.

Learn about climate change

Resources to help you

City of Calgary climate actions and progress

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.

View actions you can take to reduce the emissions that cause climate change. Visit How You Can Limit Global Climate Change.

Learn about climate change

What is climate change?

Climate change is a change in climate patterns, both globally and locally, caused by a dramatic increase in the concentration of greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere. These emissions are produced by humans burning fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas, which began at the start of the Industrial Revolution in the mid-1700s.

Climate change has caused a shift in temperature and precipitation patterns, which has increased the severity and frequency of hazards such as severe storms, extreme heat and wildfire, and disrupted long-term trends in seasonal weather patterns.

 

How does Calgary contribute to climate change?

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 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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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 continue to increase. 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 Calgary will experience more severe and frequent extreme weather events such as heat waves, drought and severe storms. A detailed analysis of the climate modelling results are provided within the Climate Projections for Calgary Report.

Climate change hazards pose risks to the health and wellness of Calgarians, the economy, public infrastructure and services, homes and private property, and natural ecosystems.

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

Events and other learning opportunities

Resources to help you

What can I do about climate change?

Climate actions

Learn about actions you can take to help reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change, and learn how you can prepare yourself and your property for hazards such as more severe storms caused by climate change. Visit Climate Actions for Calgarians.

Financial incentives and rebate programs

Climate change informational resources

City of Calgary climate actions and progress

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 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 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. 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 that cause climate change to net zero by 2050;
  • reduce the impacts of climate change on the health and wellness of Calgarians, the economy, social systems, infrastructure and natural ecosystems; and
  • support a low carbon economy.

View our virtual information session from December 6, 2021 to learn more about this project. We will report back on what we heard from stakeholders, including citizens by the spring of 2022. Check back here for more information. 

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, 2021: Calgarians are invited to provide their perspectives on climate change impacts and climate actions via the engage portal at calgary.ca/ClimateUpdate

December 6, 2021 from 6:30 to 8 pmVirtual 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

May 31, 2022: City staff will present a draft of the updated Climate Strategy to Community Development Committee on May 27.

June 7, 2022: City staff present a draft of the updated Climate Strategy to City Council for consideration.

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 declares a climate emergency;
  • 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 makes climate change a strategic priority by accelerating the timelines for climate action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, updating the city-wide and corporate greenhouse gas reduction target to be net zero emissions by 2050 to help limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius;
  • That The City of Calgary engage with First Nations, through the Indigenous Relations Office, to foster relations, ensure collaboration, incorporation 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

How are City of Calgary operations, programs and services addressing climate change?

Calgary Climate Panel

The City of Calgary 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, the 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. Learn more.

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