Measure Description

The Community Greenhouse Gas Emissions measure identifies the total tonnes of greenhouse gases (GHGs) emitted from:

- Stationary energy sources (building heat as well as stationary electricity use);
- Transportation (including on-road and off-road vehicles, trains and air traffic);
- Solid waste disposal (from landfills and composting) and wastewater;
- Industrial process and product use;
- Agriculture, forestry and other land use; and
- Other emissions occurring outside of the city boundaries, but as a result of the community’s actions (e.g., solid waste disposed in landfills outside of the city).

Data for this measure comes from several City-based, provincial and national data sources including ATCO Gas, ATCOGas NEOC, ATCO Pipelines, EPCOR, EPCOR Water Services, Alberta Transportation, Alberta Environment and Parks, the National Inventory Report, Alberta Treasury, the City of Edmonton Waste Management Center, the National Pollutant Release Inventory, Statistics Canada, and third party waste management companies.

Data is gathered and analyzed using the Global Protocol for Community Scale Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventories (the GPC Protocol).

City Operations' emissions are included in, and make up less than 2 percent of the Community GHG Emissions reported here.


- The use of the GPC protocol marks a departure from past reporting when the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ ICLEI based Partners for Climate Protection Protocol was used. As such the values noted in this reporting year are not comparable to previously reported values. To ensure comparability between years and accurate trending going forward, prior period adjustments have been made back to the 2005 baseline year; these adjusted values are reported here.
- Not all 2017 data was available at the time this total was calculated. A revised value will be published later in 2017.

Measure Importance

Carbon dioxide emissions absorb and trap heat in the atmosphere; as these emissions increase this causes our climate to change. These changes include increases in extreme weather and flooding, higher temperatures and heat waves, drought and reduced water supplies, and loss of biodiversity.  

Cities are home to an increasing proportion of the world's population, and provide their citizens with critical supports and infrastructure. To accomplish this, they consume significant amounts of energy and emit more than 70 percent of global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions. This makes cities key players in addressing climate change.
To mitigate the impacts of climate change in Edmonton, City Council approved a Community Energy Transition Strategy (CETS) in 2015. The Strategy outlines over 150 actions the City will take to reduce Edmonton's greenhouse gas emissions by 35% relative to levels by 2035. Edmonton also participates in international networks such as the Climate Disclosure Project, and Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy. To monitor the city's success in achieving the goals associated with the CETS and these organizations, the community's energy use and greenhouse gas emissions are measured and reported annually using the international standard Global Protocol for Community-Scale Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory.
This Community Greenhouse Gases measure on the Citizen Dashboard is one of the public reporting tools for this information. 

Historical Data

Data Sources: ATCO gas, ATCOGas NEOC, ATCO Pipelines, EPCOR, EPCOR Water Services, Alberta Transportation, Alberta Environment and Parks, the National Inventory Report, Alberta Treasury, the City of Edmonton Waste Management Centre, the National Pollutant Release Inventory, Statistics Canada, and third party waste management companies.

Explanation of Performance

The City of Edmonton's total community emissions for 2017 were estimated to be 18,892,000 tonnes of CO2e which is an increase of approximately 3% over 2016. However per capita emissions are 19.89 tonnes of CO2e, which is a reduction of 2% over the previous year.

Between 2016 and 2017:

- The population of Edmonton increased by 5.6%.
- A 5.9% increase in total energy use was observed, including a 10% increase in natural gas use in residential and commercial buildings compared to 2016. This increase can be attributed to 2017 being a colder year than 2016. Specifically, the heating degree days for 2017 were 11% higher than in 2016, matching very closely the observed increase in natural gas use.
- Transportation GHG emissions increased 4.4%.
- Waste GHG emissions increased 4.7%, paralleling the increase in population. 
Compared to the 2005 baseline reporting year, the community GHG emissions have increased by 629,000 tonnes of CO2e or 3.4%. The majority of this is due to increased emissions from:
- Transportation, including vehicles, rail and air travel; and
- Substantial urban growth that outpaced improvements in efficiency in existing building stock and neighbourhoods over the period. 

Several programs outlined in the CETs are launching or expanding in 2018 including the Corporate Leaders Program, the EnerGuide Residential Energy Labeling Program, the Large Building Energy Reporting and Disclosure program, and the development of a comprehensive electric vehicle strategy. These new programs combined with a renewed effort to promote and expand existing programs such as the Green Home/Sustainable Living outreach program are expected to assist in reducing emissions in the community over time. Major projects such as Blatchford and the expansion of the LRT system will further reduce community GHG emissions.

Potential roadblocks to achieving the goals include:
- Political risks such as the Governments of Alberta or Canada not implementing strong emissions, energy and GHG reduction legislation;
- Economic risks such as a downtrend in the economy that could positively or negatively impact GHG reduction measures and activities; and 
- City growth is greater than projected and greenhouse gas emissions increase at a faster rate than the emissions reductions that are achieved.
Cleaning snow off solar panels

Did you know?

Edmonton has an Energy Transition Strategy that will transform it into a city fueled by sustainable energy. The purpose of this Strategy is to identify the actions that must be taken in order to:

1) Reduce Edmonton’s greenhouse gas emissions to a level 35% below those of 2005; 
2) Generate 10% of Edmonton's electricity locally;
3) Accomplish a 25% reduction in per capita energy use through energy conservation and efficiency measures; 
4) Effectively advocate for the greening of Alberta's electricity grid; and
5) Position Edmonton to participate in global economic opportunities as the world transitions to cleaner energy.

Useful Links

For information about Edmonton’s Energy Transition Strategy:

For information about the City's strategic plan, The Way Ahead:

Check out the City's Environmental Strategic Plan, The Way We Green:

2018 State of the Environment Report: Currently in press.