Population: 877,900 (2014)
Current emissions: 13.7M tCO2e (2009)
Per capita emissions: 17.5 tCO2e/person (2009)
Reduction Target: 35% below 2005 levels by 2035
The City of Edmonton is addressing climate change in its operations and is working with its citizens and businesses to become sustainable. In 2011, The City approved it Environmental Strategic Plan, “The Way We Green”, which outlined key initiatives to be undertaken by the City of Edmonton to reduce community and City operations greenhouse gas emissions. Amongst others, this resulted in the development of a Green Building Policy in 2012, mandating a framework to improve the environmental performance of all buildings in the City, and subsequent action-oriented Green Building Plan, outlining programs to be pursued to achieve the policy.
In 2012 the City approved its City Operations Greenhouse Gas Management Plan, which aims at achieving a 50% reduction in GHG emissions from City operations by 2020 (from 2008 levels). A major contributor to this goal is through waste management. Three of the City’s landfills have been decommissioned, and emissions reductions are currently being realized through subsequent diversion of waste to the Edmonton Waste Management Centre. The centre includes the largest composting facility in Canada and a Materials Recovery Facility that recycles 40,000 tonnes of waste a year. A new waste to biofuels facility, opened in 2014, turns household garbage into biofuels and biochemicals, which will enable an increase in diversion rate from 60 to 90% by 2016.
More recently, the City adopted Edmonton’s first Energy Transition Strategy. It includes a list of specific actions that will reduce Edmonton’s GHG emissions by 35% below 2005 levels. Of that, 8% will be attributed to accelerating the greening of Alberta’s electricity grid with focus on shifting to renewable sources and implementing combined heat and power and district energy systems. In what has been considered widely considered a best practice in public engagement, the development of the strategy was innovatively supported by the Citizen’s Panel on Edmonton’s Energy and Climate Challenges, a panel made up of 56 Edmonton residents recruited for their diversity. The panel was asked to provide advice and feedback on a discussion paper on reducing Edmonton’s emissions to 2035, including the paper’s recommendations acceptability, how far and how fast to implement them, and areas of common ground and divergence among citizens. This successful engagement resulted in the inclusion of the following wording in Strategic Action 10: “The City of Edmonton will apply the advice of the Citizens’ Panel on Edmonton’s Energy and Climate Challenges : (a) weighing the costs and benefits of each energy transition action, (b) using public and transparent decision making processes so that citizens are confident that energy transition decisions serve the public good, (c) linking City leadership to citizen education, and (d) recognizing and promoting multiple reasons for energy transition.”