By now you might have heard city council passed a climate strategy for Calgary, with the vision to reach net zero emissions by 2050. I proudly voted in favour of the strategy because I believe Calgary should be a leader in the fight against climate change. We can’t be sitting on the sidelines. We must be part of the game!
I recognize the concern over a potential price tag that was talked about in the news. We heard from many Calgarians that it’s too expensive, that it’ll lead to increased taxes, that fighting climate change is not the city’s responsibility, and it won’t make a difference anyway. I understand those concerns. It could be a lot of money, but the cost of inaction will far exceed the costs of these investments
The climate strategy is not a budget. We have not asked Calgarians for $87 billion in funding. For the average Calgarian, it will actually be business as usual. But for the City, the strategy is a vision of where we want to go and how to build Calgary with climate change in mind. This would include things like expanding transit service and building the Green Line and extending the Blue Line. Or ENMAX replacing their utility trucks with electric versions; or planting more trees and building more green spaces. It’s expected developers to build net zero, energy efficient communities. Individual Calgarians choosing a hybrid or electric for their next car or biking and walking more are also contributions. The list goes on. Much of what’s in the strategy is already what Ward 5 residents, and all Calgarians, have been asking for.
And investment will come from multiple sources, namely the federal and provincial governments, and private businesses. In fact, one of the main reasons behind declaring a climate emergency is to ensure Calgary is seen to be deserving of investments. Having worked in the energy industry for a decade, I can tell you the transformation is already happening. The amount of research and development the oil producers are putting into new, clean-tech and green energy is tremendous. As a city where most of these companies are headquartered, we need to signal our support to them. Outside of the energy industry, there are hundreds of businesses that focus on environmental sustainability and more will set up here because they see Calgary is taking climate change seriously and they want to be part of it.
So now I am working with my fellow councillors and city administration to create a robust climate action plan that we can all be proud of. There will be measures in place to ensure we’re making progress. We will show the world Calgary is a leader in making the energy transition and building a cleaner, more sustainable city. Ward 5 has already seen the impacts of climate change with the devastating hailstorm of 2020. As the councillor, I appreciate your understanding and I hope you will join me on this journey.
We owe it to future generations.