Meeting Edmonton's climate change goals will require $42-billion investment by 2050, city says in updated energy transition strategy

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An investment of $42 billion for climate change action is needed over the next 30 years in order for Edmonton to meet its carbon emissions threshold of 135 megatonnes.

In a revised community energy transition strategy presented Friday morning, the city said urgent action is required to meet this local carbon budget between now and 2050. Declaring a state of climate emergency in August 2019, city council directed that the energy transition strategy be accelerated in order to align with a maximum 1.5°C global average temperature increase as per the Paris Agreement.

Deputy city manager Stephanie McCabe said in order for Edmonton to be carbon neutral by 2050, a significant amount of public and private investment will be required to diversify the economy, construct energy-efficient buildings and complete the city’s active transportation network.

Of the $42 billion, McCabe said the city would be directly responsible for about $100 million annually, totalling $3 billion over the next 30 years, with the hopes of matching funds from the provincial and federal governments. This would equate to three per cent of the city’s annual $3-billion operating budget. The city also expects future capital costs for new city-owned buildings to increase by about 15 per cent so they can be built to a carbon-neutral standard.

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“We are already seeing the consequences of climate change. Edmonton is one of the fastest warming regions in the world and the science shows that our climate is expected to change even more significantly into the future,” McCabe said. “Our risk of urban flooding may double, we’ll experience more frequent and intense weather events and our ecosystem will change.”

Council’s executive committee will discuss the updated strategy April 12. If approved by council, McCabe said the city will return during the fall budget deliberations for initial funding requests to begin implementation.

More to come.

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