How does Calgary fit into the global push to reduce reliance on fossil fuels?
Calgary’s plan to reduce greenhouse gas emission has detractors on both sides of the climate change debate – some say it’s not aggressive enough, others assert that our oil and gas sector and way of life are worth protecting.
With two thirds of Calgary’s GHG emissions generated by residential and non-residential buildings, and a third coming from transportation, Calgary has put in motion a comprehensive plan to reduce its carbon footprint and become more resilient to the changing climate. They include improving the energy performance of new and existing buildings, using sustainable building materials, supporting the transition to electric vehicles, promoting the use of public transit, and greening the city’s vehicle fleet and facilities.
Climate activists say the city is not doing enough to diversify the economy away from oil and gas, control urban sprawl to reduce traffic, support public transit and improve the city’s walkability. Some even argue the city should declare a climate emergency to promote urgency to address climate change.
But the pushback is also immense. As an oil and gas capital, Calgary’s energy sector has many supporters who question human involvement in climate change, believe that the energy transition will take decades, and that its oil and gas sector should be the last one standing because of its high environmental standards.