yes2climatepost

Submission to Executive Committee, Energy Transition Strategy

Councillors Cartmell, Hamilton, McKeen, and Walters, and Mayor Iveson,

Subject: Item 6.14, November 9, 2020 Executive Committee Meeting

Thank you for accepting this submission as you consider Edmonton’s response to the worldwide climate crisis. Tomorrow Foundation for a Sustainable Future is a charitable environmental organization with deep roots and a 50-year history in Edmonton. We have recently begun organizing the 75% of Edmontonians who are concerned about climate change and are motivated to build a better future for our city through bold, impactful action.

In October, we launched the #Yes2ClimateYEG campaign asking Edmontonians to weigh in on how taking climate action is good for them, good for their lifestyle and good for their livelihood. We will share a campaign report update during December’s budget deliberations. 

With only a few days between administration’s release of the Energy Transition update and this submission, these are the most pressing comments we urge you to consider: 

  • Time is of the essence. Our carbon budget is rapidly shrinking. Since the signing of the Edmonton Declaration in 2018, which committed Edmonton to a carbon budget of 155,000,000 tonnes of CO2 from 2019 onwards, Edmonton has released approximately 32,000,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent, 21% of our budget.
  • This council has a mandate to act as we reimagine recovery from COVID and building back better. Decisive, specific, accountable and funded action cannot wait for the next council, or we miss the opportunity before us.
  • Please fund all of the “Proposed Accelerated Actions” put forth by administration and expedite those with the potential to target systemic inequality (CR_7576 Attachment 1_ Energy Transition Strategy Accelerated Actions.pdf).
    • Bike infrastructure and tree planting could be particularly good parts of an equity strategy, and they should be funded and directed to specific and underserved areas of the city.
  • Administration’s Carbon Accounting Framework initiative is crucial but not ambitious enough in its timeframes. (page 26, “Revising Edmonton’s Community Energy Transition Strategy”). 
    • An initial funding for carbon accounting should be included in this year’s budget deliberations for post COVID recovery in 2021-2023.
    • The rollout timeline should be cut from two years to one year. A pilot Carbon Accounting Framework must be ready for implementation in Fall 2021. Similar to retirement or education savings, starting early in small amounts is less noticeable to a household’s bottom line than having to catch up on savings in a short period of time later. We need a carbon accounting tool implemented immediately to ensure all decisions are held accountable to the carbon budget’s bottom line.
  • Council should direct administration to create a list of inexpensive and/or money-saving accelerated actions for release in early 2021 alongside the final revised Community Energy Transition Strategy. Examples on this list could include:
    • Enable separate titles for net-zero garden suites by June 2021. This would stimulate the economy, increase a climate-friendly housing type, increase the supply of more affordable housing, accelerate progress towards our density targets, and increase the tax base.
    • Reimagine Saskatchewan Drive – Re-allocating a car lane to a multi-use path as suggested by Paths for People would save money on the Duggan Bridge renewal and increase bike and walk trips (thereby reducing CO2 emissions).
    • Dedicated Bus Lanes for the April 2021 Bus Network Redevelopment – A reallocation of space on 2-3 priority bus routes would significantly increase ridership for a relatively minor investment.

There has never been more support for or awareness of the need for climate action in Edmonton. We urge you to show courage in moving our city boldly forward as part of the solution to our era’s most urgent crisis.

Sincerely,

Conrad Nobert

President, Tomorrow Foundation for a Sustainable Future