Cities around the world are working to tackle climate change. The debate is no longer about the reality of climate change—the science is clear. We are shifting to a community discussion on how to face the challenge together.

The Calgary region is particularly vulnerable to the increased severity of floods, droughts, wind, and hail that come along with a changing climate. Because of this, the City of Calgary is ready to take a leadership role on climate change. The City has a specialized team dedicated to reducing the human causes of climate change. The team is developing a Climate Resilience Plan to be presented to council in June 2018.

Calgary currently spends $2.6 billion on energy each year, and the cost could be significantly reduced by investing in clean energy options. Already, the CTrain is powered by wind-generated electricity. In 2017, over 80,000 streetlights were retrofitted with LED bulbs, saving the City approximately $5 million in annual electricity costs. In 2004, the City created a Sustainable Building Policy that requires civic buildings and renovations to meet LEED standards—becoming the first municipality in Canada to implement such measures.

Calgary also recently organized its first ever Climate Change Symposium, alongside the City of Edmonton’s Cities & Climate Change Science Conference. Both conferences sparked a province-wide conversation on the role of municipalities in addressing climate change.

Calgarians are a spirited and resilient lot—traits that helped us build our energy economy. We have a history of confronting our challenges and turning them into opportunities. A changing climate is no exception. When we develop our natural resources to create efficient and clean sources of energy, we are expanding our economy to better resist booms and busts. Clean energy not only protects us from a volatile market, it makes sense for economic development.

We are a resilient city. We have the ability to reduce and mitigate the effects of climate change, while building our economy in the process. My hope is that, together, we will take visionary and practical actions in addressing the challenges of climate change.

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