Climate Change – What Should Edmonton Do In the 2020s?

Climate Change – What Should Edmonton Do In the 2020s?


Your Tomorrow Foundation staffers (joking, no staffers only volunteers) have been hard at work analyzing Edmonton’s climate plan. Here’s what we think that we, the public, should be asking our city to do.


  • Edmonton’s emissions in 2019 were 17 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent, that’s about 47,000 tonnes per day (more data here).
  • Our goal is to reduce that to roughly 5.4 million tonnes by 2030, nine short years from now.
  • Our opportunities for reducing CO2 equivalents (as reported by the city here and depicted in the above graph) are 28% transportation, 19% buildings, 36% energy systems, and 17% “other”.


  • We need new and decisive climate action every year.
  • Time is the enemy. A tonne of greenhouse gases avoided today is worth many more than one avoided in 2030.
  • Our big moves should be in areas are the exclusive domain of cities.
  • Other moves should hasten, nudge, and/or leverage technology or other levels of government.
  • Let’s leverage our actions to kick-start clean industries and circulate money in Edmonton’s (clean) economy.

High-Level Actions

  • Transportation – Increase transit and micromobility trips vis a vis car trips.
    • A city-wide protected micromobility lane network that leverages and accommodates the flood of affordable e-bike and e-scooters that are rapidly becoming available.
    • A publicly-funded and -operated bike share (including e-bikes).
    • A robust, high-quality transit network with dedicated bus lanes on all high-frequency routes.
    • Convert the existing bus fleet to electric as fast as possible.
    • A rethink of parking subsidies in Edmonton. The goal should be for every parking stall that’s not on private property to be a paid one. No more free parking.
    • Zoning to speed up creation of walkable neighbourhoods.
      • The Zoning Bylaw is almost two years away.
      • City council should legalize titles for Secondary Suites immediately to spur on this affordable, efficient housing form.
  • Buildings
    • Deep Energy Retrofits for Residential Buildings- With the help of other levels of government, fund and encourage the deep energy retrofit of about 13,000 residential units per year from 2021 – 2050 (source).
      • A Deep Energy Retrofit reduces household energy demand by about 80%, and enables the remaining 20% of energy to be supplied by renewables.
      • Deep Energy Retrofits are a hyper-local economic activity. They could be a huge injection of capital in the Edmonton economy.
    • Deep Energy Retrofits for Commercial and Industrial Buildings.
    • Enforce/encourage all new buildings to be Net Zero as soon as possible, using zoning as a lever.
  • Energy Systems
    • Electricity from solar is rapidly becoming the cheapest option. Edmonton should enable the rapid deployment of solar on Edmonton buildings via regulation and financial incentives, with a plan to phase out incentives when the technology has enough momentum.
    • Geothermal energy is more available in winter than wind and solar energy are. Edmonton should participate with other levels of government in developing this emerging energy source.


  • Transportation (27% of GHGs)
    • Biking and Walking
      • The Bike Plan
      • Bike Share
      • The Micromobility Revolution
      • What Makes A Place Walkable?
    • Transit
    • The Car Problem (Actually Most of them are Trucks) :
      • Electric Cars/Trucks? (Should We Subsidize Chargers?)
      • Parking is Free. Roads are Free.
    • 15-minute Neighbourhoods. What do they mean, how do we get there.
      • Climate Action = A Safe, Comfortable Walk to the Grocery Store
      • The Suburbs – How Can We Transform Rutherford or Macewan to a 15-minute neighbourhood?
  • Buildings (38% of GHGs)
    • Deep Energy Retrofits
    • New Builds
    • The Zoning Problem