Edmonton, Alberta GHG Emissions Reduction Plan

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Edmonton, Canada

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Type: Policy

Status: Adopted on 9/23/99

Source File: http://www.edmonton.ca/Environment/WasteManagement/OfficeofEnv/GHG%20City%20Operations%20Summary.pdf


The purpose of this document is to describe the actions that would be necessary to comply with the Kyoto Protocol 6% GHG emissions reduction target and the FCM Partners for Climate Change 20% reduction target by 2008.

Program and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) Partners for Climate Protection (PCP). These programs require submission of action plans detailing how specific greenhouse gas emissions targets will be met and how progress will be measured. The 1997 Kyoto Protocol calls for a 6% reduction in Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions globally.

Edmonton is one of more than 70 Canadian municipalities that have signed on to the FCM PCP program 20% GHG reduction target (i.e. 20% below 1990 levels). Additionally:

  • Several federally initiated working Tables are providing input to Canada’s National Strategy on Climate Change.
  • There has been some change in trends of energy use from non-renewable to renewable energy (e.g. wind, solar power).
  • There is an awareness of the advantages of energy efficiency and cost-effectiveness that accompany reduced GHG emissions.

In 1998, a task force comprising representatives from the City Administration, ATCO Gas and EPCOR was established to develop a GHG emissions reduction plan for City Operations. ATCO Gas and EPCOR have a strong interest in GHG reductions and their business plans demonstrate their commitment to work towards reduction. Options for community-wide GHG emissions reduction are to be developed in the fall of 1999.

Climate change and energy efficiency is referenced specifically in Plan Edmonton Strategies 4.3.5, 4.4.3 and 4.4.8 and in the City’s Environmental Strategic Plan strategic direction 2.1 and 2.6. In keeping with the Environmental Strategic Plan Policy Document (approved by City Council July 20, 1999), four parallel strategies for reducing GHG emissions from City operations through the individual operating areas are:

  • Encourage reduction of overall energy use from current sources (particularly through purchasing requirements);
  • Develop and implement strategies to mitigate impacts of GHG emissions;
  • Increase staff awareness and training regarding need for and ways to reduce GHG emissions; and,
  • Develop and maintain a GHG emissions inventory.

In the mid 1990s, Edmonton’s rate of greenhouse gas emissions was approximately 24 tonnes per capita. Alberta’s average was 60 tonnes per capita, the nation’s average was 17 tonnes per capita and the world average was 4 tonnes per capita. Edmonton’s relatively high rate is due largely to our lifestyle, the cold climate and industry; Alberta’s high emissions are due primarily to oil and gas production, together with coal fired power generation. In 1990, total GHG emissions from within Edmonton’s boundary were in the order of 13 million tonnes (CO2 equivalence) per annum. By 1997 this figure had increased to approximately 15 million tonnes.

Edmonton’s city operations represent only a small proportion (approximately 3%) of GHG emissions from within the municipal boundaries, but they do provide a target over which the City has control and can demonstrate leadership by example. The accounting of GHG emissions is primarily through the use of electrical power, natural gas, and fuel (for transportation). The GHG inventory for City operations has been broken into six main areas consisting of: a) City buildings (40%), b) City Fleets (24%), d) Street Lighting (20%), e) Wastewater Treatment (8%), f) Contracted-Out-Services (6%), and g) Green Spaces & Sinks (2%). In 1990, City operations accounted for 354,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalence emissions per annum; this increased to 363,000 tonnes in 1997.

Greenhouse gas emissions from the management of waste will be addressed under the development of community-wide options in order to deal more thoroughly with a number of issues including waste reduction initiatives such as recycling and composting, landfill gas emissions from City owned and private landfills, potential allocation of carbon credits, etc.

The Kyoto Protocol formula requires an average of 6% GHG emissions reduction during the budget period 2008 to 2012. To comply with this, GHG emissions from City operations should be reduced to 333,000 tonnes per annum by 2008 - and continue to be reduced in subsequent years to address likely continued growth of services. Similarly, to comply with the FCM Cities for Climate Protection target of 20% reduction below the 1990 levels, GHG emissions from City operations should be reduced to 283,000 tonnes per annum.

Already planned expenditure on City operations in keeping with this Strategic Plan is forecast to reduce GHG emissions to 360,000 tonnes per annum by 2008. Several measures that will reduce GHG emissions also provide a positive benefit-cost.


Level II Initiatives

Buildings Retrofits ($2M): Buildings Revolving Fund from 3rd party(s) (e.g. EnVest)
New Buildings ($12.2M): Incorporate within capital submissions for new facilities
Buildings Training ($0.2M): Operating/utility budgets
Street Lighting ($6.3M): New revolving fund from reserve repaid with utility savings.
Driver Training ($2M): Operating budget (tax levy)

Level III(a) Initiatives

Buildings ($0.3M): Incorporate with revolving fund projects or existing operating
Transit Fleet ($0.8M): Capital budget (tax levy)
Municipal Fleet ($1M): Capital budget (tax levy)
Green Spaces & Sinks ($0.05) Operating budget

The next steps in the planning process will be:

  • Preparatory work for staged implementation of reduction initiatives and budgetary approvals should be started in fall 1999 through the individual operating areas. This will enable the necessary early start on specific reductions beginning in 2000.
  • Individual operating areas will confirm/develop detailed action plans, milestone targets and GHG emissions tracking mechanisms.
  • The Environmental Steering Committee will be responsible for ensuring implementation of the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Plan and will report progress annually to the Transportation and Public Works Committee.
  • Work is planned to start on developing a reduction strategy for communitywide GHG emissions this fall. Appropriate stakeholders will be contacted and working groups established, with a view to the general options and preliminary strategy being compiled by the end of 1999.