Demand a Zero Emissions Future

Climate change is the fundamental challenge of our times. Our quality of life and millions of lives are at stake. The challenge is immense—all levels of government in all countries must do their part. The opportunity is even bigger: clean energy will create countless jobs and technological innovations that will be incredible to behold.

The goal is clear and now widely accepted: zero emissions by the year 2050. This will be achieved by electric vehicles, emissions free electricity generation, and retrofitting current buildings.

The city must work with green investors, the private sector and other orders of government to build 20 DC fast charging hubs across the city. Every citizen should have fast charging at 10 minutes or less commute from their home and workplace. The adoption of electric vehicles will follow from there. The city’s own vehicles, including transit vehicles, should all be electric moving forward.

The city of Edmonton owns EPCOR. The electricity generator must be directed to achieve 80% of electricity from zero emissions sources by the year 2030, and 100% by 2035. This is in line with what the other electricity generators in the province have aspired to. We must work with the provincial government to create community solar both inside and outside the city to service the city’s electricity needs. Major landfills need to be converted to community solar. Battery storage needs to be increased. All municipal buildings should have solar panels.

Homes and buildings need to be retrofitted to be energy efficient. Retrofitting should include next generation technologies such as steam heating. Imagine buildings warmed from the floor upwards rather than with hot, dry air blasting from furnace ducts. Retrofitting has an upfront cost, but has tremendous downstream savings. To allow homeowners and business owners to make this change, we must develop a financing system that adds the cost of improvements to property tax bills, which are then paid back over years with flexible payment schemes. Building codes must be aligned to create the greatest possible energy efficiency. Municipal buildings should be retrofitted to serve as demonstration projects for businesses to emulate. Trees can provide shade and reduce carbon footprint.

The provincial government should be encouraged to include climate change education in its new curriculum for grade school students.

As we transition to a bold and exciting future of a green economy, we must include citizens of all backgrounds. The green economy will be an inclusive economy.