Thu. Jun 30th, 2022

In addition to the declaration, the proposal calls for the city’s environmental plan to aim for net zero emissions by 2050

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Mayor Jyoti Gondek keeps his promise to Calgary to join other cities to declare a climate emergency.

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The newly elected mayor’s announcement of proposals is on Tuesday’s agenda for the first meeting of the council’s new executive committee. If the committee gives technical approval to the proposal, it will be up for debate at the first ordinary city council meeting on 15 November.

The city’s current strategy for climate resilience aims for Calgary’s emissions to be 80 percent lower than 2005 levels by 2050, a goal that many have said falls short. Gondek’s proposal specifies that in addition to declaring a climate emergency, the City of Calgary Environmental Plan will be updated to target net zero emissions by 2050. It is the worldwide goal to stop adding heat-absorbing carbon emissions to the atmosphere and limit global warming to 1.5 C, thus averting even more catastrophic environmental impacts.

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Gondek’s proposal outlines how clear the need to deal with climate change is, given that Alberta has seen several of the most costly natural disasters in the country over the past five years.

“Among large and medium-sized Canadian cities, Calgary is one of the few without a climate declaration, compromising our city’s ability to compete for global capital and talent.”

City councils in Ottawa, Vancouver, Toronto and Edmonton – among many others – have in recent years voted to declare climate emergencies. But after Edmonton took the plunge in 2019, there was little motivation from Calgary City Council members to do the same.

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City officials asked internal requests for such a statement from at least one councilor, but some former councilors pointed out that the city already has a climate resilience strategy, adding that they were concerned about getting lost outside the city’s mandate or potentially being “. excessively dramatic. “

At that time, where landsv. Sean Chu was asked if there was interest in declaring a climate emergency, he said, “Over my dead body.”

Now that council is almost completely reversed, and with Gondek as one of his first priorities as mayor, the conversation in City Hall may look very different.

The proposal calls for planning and budgeting across urban departments to pursue emission reductions and opportunities to lower climate risk. Civic partner organizations and wholly-owned urban corporations will also be committed to adjusting to the net zero target by 2050, and the city will advocate funding from other levels of government to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reduce the risk of natural disasters driven by climate change.

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Former head of the Calgary Emergency Management Agency, Tom Sampson, said in 2019 that he was unsure of the usefulness of declaring a climate emergency, but said that if the city ever took the step, there should be a clear sense of its purpose. CEMA has identified climate change as a significant risk to the city, and it is a factor in major disasters such as the 2013 floods.

Gondek has spoken about the climate emergency declaration several times since last month’s municipal poll, from election night to her speech at Calgary Economic Development’s annual economic outlook.

A few days after the election, Gondek said the move is about more than making a symbolic statement.

“Symbolism does not give you results,” she said, adding that she wants to send a clear message about Calgary’s pursuit of innovation and technology that supports responsible and sustainable energy production.

“I have been elected to ensure that our city gets the capital it deserves. This is how you go about getting it: by taking these things seriously. ”

masmith@postmedia.com

Twitter: @meksmith

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