Council reconvenes on 2050 carbon neutrality goal
EDMONTON -- A group of climate change activists set up a real-time counter outside City Hall on Monday displaying the millions of tonnes of carbon emissions being produced by Edmonton.
Climate Action Edmonton is calling for action three months after the City declared a climate emergency in Alberta's capital.
"What do we want? Climate action. When do we want it? Now!" the group chanted.
"Unfortunately the way things are going right now, we’re emitting about 20 million tonnes a year. And so we’re going to blow through our carbon budget in seven or eight years," group member Conrad Nobert estimated.
To meet the Paris Accord and the Edmonton Declaration, Edmonton must cap its emissions at 155 megatonnes between the beginning of 2019 and end of 2050. However, since 2005, the city's total greenhouse gas emissions have ranged between 18 and 20 megatonnes per year—and a November trajectory estimates Edmonton will still be emitting more than 18 megatonnes annually by the middle of the century.
On Monday, counil received an update on the city's Climate Action Plan.
Councillers heard there are 33 "quick win" actions Edmonton could take to start the city on the path to carbon neutrality by 2050.
Among the suggestions was installing solar panels on city buildings, or offering a rebate on electric vehicle charging fees.
Currently, only half of the changes are funded.
"Generally we save money over time by doing them," explained Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson.
"The classic example is you pay a little more for a hybrid or electric car, you spend less on fuel."
Next week, councillors will decide which city projects move forward after the province cut millions of dollars in funding. Some of those projects have green components.
The mayor believes climate action is a top priority on council.
"That sustained message from our public and especially young Edmontonians has resonated with me and, I think, a lot of my colleagues as well," Iveson said.
Climate Action Edmonton also has a live counter on its website.
With a report from Jeremy Thompson