I have long believed in the power of cities to tackle some of the great challenges of our time. This is especially true when it comes to confronting both the causes and the impacts of climate change.
At about the mid-point in my term as Mayor, City Council passed the Community Energy Transition Strategy, making Edmonton a North American leader in defining the ways a city could reduce its carbon emissions – from city vehicle fleets to the kind of power we produce and purchase. With 95% of our City’s energy coming from fossil fuels, the status quo leaves the City exposed to a number of risks, such as longer-term rising energy prices, increases in storm severity and recurring air quality warnings. The Energy Transition Strategy is about meeting those risks head on and highlighting the key leadership role the City must take to drive change.
While the Strategy showed tremendous leadership, we must be more ambitious with our efforts to implement it next term – working with partners, we can transition to green/clean energy sooner, rather than later. Our kids and grandkids demand and deserve nothing less.
To keep Edmonton’s leadership strong, I will lead Council in:
- Fast tracking the electrification of Edmonton’s bus fleet – Edmonton is in the process of adding to electric buses to our fleet, but we need to more aggressive with increasing the proportion of electric buses in our fleet, and shift away from the future purchase of diesel buses.
- Making it more affordable for people to be energy efficient – Work with the provincial government to allow home and business owners to access affordable, long-term funding and financing to improve the energy efficiency of their buildings.
- Following through on Council’s low-carbon vision for Blatchford – In 2009 we made a deal with Edmontonians to do something special at Blatchford. By committing to building one of the most sustainable communities in the world, we are demonstrating Edmonton’s leadership to the world and following through on a promise.
- Exporting our green-building expertise to the world – Edmonton is home to the most net zero residential buildings in Canada and our expertise in the field of sustainable building practices is in demand around the world. Green building technology means green jobs, and our expertise is needed beyond Edmonton.
- Creating District Energy nodes in Blatchford and the Downtown – These projects provide effective and energy efficient solutions to new and retro-fitted buildings by sharing heating and cooling loads between buildings, harvesting waste heat, and using efficient combined heat and power energy systems. We will implement both of these projects by working closely with private and public sector partners.
Not only is taking action on our climate the responsible thing to do for future generations, our leadership will help secure our long-term prosperity by growing a greener economy with skilled, resilient jobs. Edmonton has already set the bar high for other cities when it comes to the environment. Let’s keep up that example.
“Don’s plan builds on expertise and experience here in Edmonton and offers important, concrete actions to lower greenhouse gas emissions and build a greener economy. It’s a great mix of demonstration projects like Blatchford which will increase our green tech knowledge base, deployment of existing, tested technologies like electric buses to make our city greener, and collaboration with other levels of government. Each of these elements are important in building a greener, more prosperous Edmonton!”
– Andrew Leach, Associate Professor, University of Alberta School of Business
“Don understands the tremendous potential for Edmonton to leverage its expertise in green building technologies into a real and viable economic development opportunity. He’s a leader who will drive change for our economy and our planet.”
– Reza Nasseri, CEO Landmark Group of Companies