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Calgary could aim for net-zero emissions with upcoming climate declaration

Calgary would target net-zero emissions by 2050 as a part of a notice of motion to declare a climate emergency.

The notice of motion, prepared by Mayor Jyoti Gondek, will be one of the first motions presented to the new Calgary city council executive committee for approval. Gondek first made the climate pledge right after being declared the mayoral winner in Calgary’s Oct. 18 municipal election.

“Your new city council will make a commitment to climate action because we can and we must,” she said in her election night victory speech.

“Our ability to compete on the global stage depends on taking on the position of being a leader in the transitioning economy, committed to creating more sustainable, greener and cleaner solutions to be used across businesses and industries.”

The motion asks that Calgary declare a climate emergency and that it participate with the global community in taking action on climate change through international initiatives.

It also calls for an update to the city’s corporate greenhouse gas reduction target. Currently, the greenhouse gas target is to reduce 80 per cent of 2005 City of Calgary emissions by 2050. 

The notice calls for net-zero emissions by 2050.  It also calls for strategic city investments in emissions reductions and climate risk reduction measures. They also want the city to work with civic partners and subsidiaries to align with the 2050 emissions targets.

In late October, Mayor Gondek was asked what declaring a climate emergency means.

“What we need to do now is recognize that we are in a climate emergency so we can continue to attract capital to our city,” she said at the time.

“There are groups like BlackRock and banks worldwide, that are interested in focusing on investing their dollars into cities that recognize we have more to do on the climate.”

Following other Canadian cities

This notice of motion must first be approved by the executive committee and then moved on for debate at a full meeting of Calgary city council.

Calgary will be following in the footsteps of other major Canadian cities to make the climate commitment. Edmonton declared a climate emergency in August 2019. They also have a net-zero goal by 2050.

“City Council adopted two important resolutions today: a plan to respond to climate change with action and the climate emergency declaration which acknowledges this is an emergency,” former Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson said at the time.

The motion also calls for funding from all orders of government to accelerate actions to respond to the climate risk.

Calgary’s new executive committee meets Nov. 9, to discuss if this motion meets the requirements to be moved on to a full meeting of council.