City Budget 2022: Funding the Route to Net-Zero

UPDATE: During Budget Week (November 21-25, 2022), Calgary Climate Hub members and members of the Calgary Alliance for the Common Good spoke at City Council to advocate more for climate action in the budget plan for the next four years. Over 40 of us spoke at the Council in person, and many more members put in their written comments to push Council to do more for the environment.

We put climate action on the agenda for this budget. On Friday, City Council announced $40 million in additional spending on our 5A (always available for all ages and abilities) active transportation network, freezing of transit fares and an exploration of BRT and LRT expansion in north and northeast Calgary. Our advocacy paid huge dividends for climate action in Calgary.

November 21-28, 2022 is Budget Week for The City of Calgary. During this week, Council will establish the budget for the next four years. Their decisions about what gets funded and what doesn't will set the direction for our city for a generation.

Let Council know you want them to put their money where their mouth is and set a budget that recognizes the Climate Emergency.

  1. Use [email protected] to email all councillors and [email protected] to email the mayor. Tell them why funding climate action is important to you.
  2. Watch our special episode of A Climate of Change about the budget on November 9
  3. Attend our City Budget Advocacy training session on November 16
  4. Make a public submission and/or sign up to speak City Council during the public hearing on November 21

Here are the Calgary Climate Hub's top suggestions for how the budget can support climate action:

1. Fund climate-dedicated advocacy resources addition to current intergovernmental affairs resources, to advocate to provincial, federal and private sector partners. Calgary can't do this alone. Some actions, such as the electricity grid and affordable housing, are controlled by other levels of government. We need a strong voice. 

2. Fund at least 100km of the Always Available for All Ages and Abilities (5A) network of bikeways and pathways by the end 2025,

...including funding for supporting a 5A network implementation plan and dedicated staff. Ensure that implementation is equitable.

3. Fund the electrification of the bus fleet to reduce transportation emissions.

The City should also be electrifying its fleet vehicles.

4. Scale up the Clean Energy Improvement Program (CEIP) to 5,000 retrofits per year. 

This program helps homeowners borrow against their taxes for energy retrofits.

5. Accelerate funding for the expansion of Calgary’s tree canopy from 8% to 16%,

...with a focus on increasing tree canopy coverage in underserved areas.

We also recommend that City Council:

  • Fund Stage 2 of the Green Line, Extension of the NE Blue Line and Airport Line
  • Fund 15 minute minimum frequency on all BRT and LRT routes
  • Add or retrofit net-zero affordable housing units by the end of 2025

If we get this right, here's what the future could look like:

  • Advocacy from the City of Calgary to provincial and federal partners contributes to
    • Passing climate legislation such as NZ2035 Clean Electricity Standard, ZEV mandates, Net-Zero Building Codes
    • New and additional funding for climate action in Calgary, including a larger or complete share of capital for future LRT expansion, as in Hamilton and Vancouver
  • Transportation shifts away from private vehicles to active modes (cycling, walking) and transit
  • Private vehicles are exclusively zero emission vehicles
  • Existing/new buildings are retrofitted/built to zero-emission building standards
  • Natural infrastructure and climate adaptation solutions are spread equitably across Calgary
  • All infrastructure investment is implemented with a focus on supporting under-served areas
  • Municipal taxes, incentives and fees encourage low carbon behavior

Why we have suggested these priorities:

  • Net-zero emissions by 2050 is the bare minimum target for limiting global warming to 1.5°C, as outlined by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
  • Calgary City Council has committed to, and committed to advocating for, net-zero 2050 as well as net-zero by 2035 electricity when it passed the new Calgary Climate Strategy in June.
  • Funding the action in the Climate Strategy is critical to Calgary’s ability to reach net-zero by 2050
  • 68% of Calgarians either support or strongly support targeting net-zero 2050
  • These actions tackle our largest emissions. Calgary’s direct greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions come from carbonized electricity (37%), transport fuels (33.7%), fossil (natural) gas (28.2%) and waste (1.1%) 
    • There are over 1 million vehicles registered in Calgary. To become net-zero, all of these cars will either need to be replaced with zero-emission vehicles or other modes of transport
    • Natural gas and electricity use in buildings makes up 65% of GHG emissions in Calgary

Download our one-pager with sources here.

Media contact [email protected]

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