The Good Society

What makes for a good society? One that values and measures the things that count. Edmonton has just incorporated a carbon budget limiting the greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) it can emit, hopefully, the first of many cities to do so.

The plan sets a goal for Edmonton to become carbon neutral by 2050 — meaning the city would minimize how many greenhouse gas emissions it produces and offset the rest — while doubling its population to two million and fostering a vibrant economy. There will be twice as many people powering their homes, travelling to and from work, shopping and going about daily life, all while producing net-zero greenhouse gas emissions.

Cities are responsible for 42 per cent of Canada’s GHG emissions, which, according to the latest data from Statistics Canada, hit their highest level in more than a decade in 2018. If we are going to meet our national climate goals and help limit global warming, every Canadian municipality must follow Edmonton’s lead and adopt a city plan with a carbon budget.

One of my long-time partners, Sustainability Solutions Group, helped the city prepare the budget and determine what policies and actions will enable the city to stay within its budget while continuing to develop. Some of this work is based on the learning we shared through one of our many collaborative projects, Spaces, Places and Possibilities.


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