Calgary - An integrated, multi-level climate plan

Assessment of the territories’ climate action


Association Climate Chance (Climate Chance)

Since 2015, the Climate Chance Association has been involved in the mobilization in the fight against climate change. It is the only international association that proposes to bring together on an equal footing all the non-State actors recognized by the UN. In order to strengthen their action and to give credibility to the climate stabilization scenarios, the Climate Chance Association launched in 2018 a Global Observatory of Non-State Climate Action, which aims to explain the evolution of greenhouse gas emissions, by crossing national public policies, with sectoral dynamics, private actors’ strategies, local public policies, and actions undertaken by the actors of the territory. In order to analyse the coherence of local public policies, Climat Chance proposes an assessment of « territorial mobilisations » through selected examples of cities and regions. Here, the Olympic city of Calgary.

Despite a decline between 2014-16, Calgary’s emissions are 16.5% higher than in 2005 and reach 18.5 MtCO2eq/yr in 2017. Calgary’s 2018-2022 strategy, which includes 23 programs and nearly 250 mitigation and adaptation actions, must, however, lead the city towards a 20% reduction in emissions by 2020. It is also linked to the Province of Alberta’s Climate Leadership Plan 2015, and the City Charter, a legislative framework negotiated between the cities of Calgary and Edmonton and the Government of Alberta, which requires the formulation of a climate plan, but also gives them greater flexibility of action.


Electricity accounts for 42% of Calgary’s emissions, far ahead of natural gas (24%), diesel (20%) and diesel (13%). This is due to the fact that 47% of Alberta’s electricity is generated from coal, 40% from natural gas and only 13% from renewables. Nevertheless, the province’s plan calls for coal-fired plants to be shut down by 2030 and is expected to contribute significantly to Calgary’s mitigation efforts. Calgary has also taken advantage of its region’s climate advantages by fully powering its own buildings with renewables. Wind energy has the lowest regional rate in Canada at 3.7 cents/kWh in 2018, and Calgary is the second sunniest city in the country for solar energy (CED 2018). Given Calgary’s energy mix, the energy efficiency of buildings, which account for 65% of emissions, is therefore an important lever for its mitigation strategy in two ways : the +500 m2 areas must meet the requirements of the Canadian Green Buidling Council’s national LEED ratification system. For the rest, the city has formulated its own good practices.


Calgary was the first city in the subcontinent to introduce a Light Rail Transit LRT (Light Rail Transit LRT) powered entirely by wind energy, saving 56,000 tonnes of CO2 per year, according to Calgary Transit, a public corporation. The city also holds the record in Canada for having the most rapid transit infrastructure available per capita with 53 km/million people (Pembina 2014) and one of the lowest congestion times in Canada behind Edmonton (Tom Tom index). However, an annual census of the modes of transportation used to access the business district in the morning during rush hours shows that their distribution has remained relatively stable over the past 10 years, with just under 50% of residents using the subway and public buses, between 40 and 45% using the car, and the rest using cycling or walking (Calgary 2018). The number of annual metro and bus journeys is decreasing, from 109 million in 2015 to 102 million in 2017 (CalgaryHerald), and the company is seeking to reverse this downward trend in modal shift with the opening of a third metro line in 2026, priority bus lanes, and a « transit-oriented development » of the city adapted to existing lines.

Calgary’s 2018 strategy also focuses on the energy efficiency of road transport to reduce emissions, including the development of electric vehicles and the creation of a network of charging stations in the southern part of the province with 70 stations currently in place in the city. Finally, Calgary Transit seems determined to modernize its bus network, encouraged in particular by the carbon tax introduced by the province of Alberta, which will reach CAD 30/tonne in 2018 and could cost more than CAD 2 million (RouteAhead Update).


To go further