Calgary city staff have unveiled an $87-billion climate plan to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, deliver $80 billion in energy savings, and generate $60 billion in gross domestic product (GDP) by mid-century.
The 99-page Pathways to 2050 comes seven months after Calgary declared a climate emergency. It outlines the guiding principles and direction to reach net-zero, along with adaptation plans to make Calgary more resilient to climate impacts, reports Global News.
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If every action item in the plan is completed, a report shows the city require a cumulative investment of $87 billion by 2050, or $3.1 billion annually.
Conceding that the projected costs of the plan are “staggering,” and “really hard to wrap your head around,” councillor Kourtney Penner urged those knocked dizzy by the price tag to consider “the costs of what we can’t measure, and the savings that we talk about from an environmental lens.”
Calgary’s climate change and environment manager Dick Ebersohn added that the city would be pursuing “multiple streams of funding and financing mechanisms to support programs and actions and to continue to leverage funding opportunities.”
Ebersohn also warned that inaction now would yield ever steeper costs down the road.
“The impacts of climate change could result in an average of $2.6 billion in climate risk per year by the 2050s,” he said. “If we stand by and do nothing, the cost of inaction could ramp up to an average of $7.8 billion per year by the 2080s.”
Against such burgeoning costs, Ebersohn estimated that the net-zero transition will deliver $80 billion in energy savings for Calgarians and generate $60 billion in GDP by 2050.
The climate strategy predicts that 40% of the community’s electricity will be generated within city boundaries from renewable sources, and that a third of residential electricity demand will be covered by rooftop solar installations, reports Global News.
By 2050, 60% of all trips Calgarians make within their city will be on foot, on two wheels, or on mass transit, and more than 95% of residents will live less than two kilometres from a transit facility, the strategy projects.
The Calgary Climate Hub made several recommendations to strengthen the plan, including electrification of Calgary Transit’s bus fleet and increasing the city’s tree canopy from 8.25% today to 16% by 2030.
“If we fail, the planet fails, and the thing that’s important now is speed,” Climate Hub co-founder Joe Vipond told the committee, and “winning slowly is the same as losing.”
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