City committee endorses $87B strategy to reduce Calgary’s emissions by 2050

According to City of Calgary administration, the transition to net-zero is also estimated to result in up to $80 billion in energy savings for Calgarians by 2050. File / Global News
Months after Calgary city council set a target of net-zero emissions by 2050, city officials have unveiled an updated strategy in an effort to reach that goal.

After a lengthy discussion, the city’s community development committee voted five to one in favour of endorsing the strategy with just Ward 6 councillor Richard Pootmans opposed.

According to city administration, the “Pathways to 2050” climate strategy aligns the city’s current and future action to the increased scale required to meet the goal of net-zero emissions by 2050.

The 99-page document outlines high-level guiding principles and direction to reach net-zero, a mitigation strategy and an adaptation plan to make Calgary more climate resilient.

If every action in the plan is taken, a city report shows it would require a cumulative investment of $87 billion by 2050, or $3.1 billion annually.

“They’re staggering numbers and they’re really hard to wrap your head around,” said Ward 11 councillor Kourtney Penner. “What I look at is what are the costs of what we can’t measure and the savings that we talk about from an environmental lens.

“This is a joint investment between all orders of government, between the private sector and between citizens investing into a net-zero future by 2050.”

According to the city’s report, the money would go towards mitigation measures like building retrofits, renewable energy and zero emissions mobility.

But city administration said the costs reflected in the report are calculated as a cost to the economy as a whole, and not just to the City of Calgary.

“From a solutions perspective, the city will pursue multiple streams of funding and financing mechanisms to support programs and actions and to continue to leverage funding opportunities,” Dick Ebersohn, the City of Calgary’s climate change and environment manager