Briefing Note: Calgary City Council Declares Climate Emergency – What Does This Mean for Calgary’s Construction Industry?


  • On November 15, 2021, Calgary City Council declared a climate emergency.
  • Other cities in Canada that have already declared climate emergencies include Edmonton, Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal.
  • Specific calls to action of the Notice of Motion include:
    • Updating the city-wide corporate GHGs reduction target to net-zero by 2050;
    • Moving the City to develop strategic business plans and budgets across ALL departments that will invest in and accelerate high priority emission reduction and climate risk reduction opportunities;
    • Advocating for funding from all orders of government to accelerate immediate and near-term actions to rapidly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reduce climate risk to public-built and natural infrastructure, build community resilience, and seek disaster risk reduction from climate change.
  • The Notice of Motion accelerates the City of Calgary’s Climate Resiliency Strategy, by pushing for net-zero GHG emissions by 2050 – a departure from the current goal of 80 percent of 2005 levels by 2050.
  • The original Climate Resiliency Strategy already calls for strategic planning and investment in land-use and transportation planning, transit, new design standards, and practices, energy step codes, and retrofitting.
  • Should the City Council declare a climate emergency on November 15, the conversation must shift towards building Calgary sustainably – together, with the input of our local construction industry.



The City of Calgary remains among the last major Canadian cities to declare a climate emergency. Other cities that have declared include Edmonton, Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal.

Climate emergency declarations have been made in the United States. Notably, Houston – the capital of the American energy industry – came up with a Climate Action Plan in 2020 that “aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, meet the Paris Agreement goal of carbon neutrality by 2050 and declare itself a leader of the global energy transition.”

Shortly after the October 18, 2021 Election, Mayor Jyoti Gondek announced that her first priority would be to declare a climate emergency at City Council.

During the recent election cycle, Mayor Gondek’s heavily featured elements of environmentalism, climate action and sustainable-city building. The platform included:

  • Promoting durable construction materials as a