Measure Description

This report of the city of Edmonton's greenhouse gas emissions follows the Global Protocol for Community-Scale Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventories. This is an international standard that allows Edmonton to be compared with other cities reporting to the same level (Basic +), around the world.

In 2018, the emissions included in this inventory included the following: 
- Stationary energy sources (building heat as well as stationary electricity use), which accounted for 12,075,000 tonnes (or 64%) of emissions ;
- Transportation fuel (including on-road and off-road vehicles, trains and air traffic), which accounted for 5,790,000 tonnes (or 31%) of emissions;
- Solid waste disposal (from landfills and composting) and wastewater, which accounted for 134,000 tonnes (or 0.7%) of emissions;
- Industrial process and product use, which accounted for 829,000 tonnes (or 4%) of emissions; and
- Agriculture, forestry  and other land use, offset by Edmonton's large urban forest resulting in a net absorption of 98,000 tonnes (or 0.5%) of emissions.

Data for this measure comes departments within the City, as well as 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.

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

Measure Importance

Carbon dioxide emissions absorb and trap heat in the atmosphere; as these emissions increase our climate changes. 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. 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 not only in this Open Data Catalogue, but also to international networks including the Climate Disclosure Project, and Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy.

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 2018 were estimated to be 18,730,000 tonnes of CO2e which is an increase of approximately 3% over 2017. Per capita emissions were 19.1 tonnes of CO2e, which was the same as the previous year.

Between 2017 and 2018:

- The population of Edmonton increased by 3%.
- A 5% increase in total energy use was observed, including a 9% increase in natural gas use in residential and commercial buildings compared to 2017. This increase can be attributed to several factors, the first of which was the fact that 2018 was colder than 2017. Specifically, the heating degree days for 2017 were 6% higher than the previous year. In addition, industrial use of natural gas increased in 2018. 
- Transportation GHG emissions increased 2.3%.
- Waste GHG emissions decreased by 3.1%. 
Compared to the 2005 baseline reporting year, the community GHG emissions have increased by 472,000 tonnes of CO2e or 2.5%. 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. 

A number of programs outlined in the CETs continued to grow in 2018 including the Corporate Climate 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 programs combined with a renewed effort to promote and expand existing programs such as the changeforclimate.ca 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.

In 2018, Edmonton City Council also demonstrated its commitment to taking action against climate change by producing the Edmonton Declaration - a statement that over 4500 cities have since endorsed. 
Potential roadblocks to achieving Edmonton's greenhouse gas emission 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: http://www.edmonton.ca/city_government/environmental_stewardship/energy-transition.aspx

For information about the City's strategic plan, The Way Ahead: http://www.edmonton.ca/city_government/city_vision_and_strategic_plan/the-way-ahead.aspx

Check out the City's Environmental Strategic Plan, The Way We Green: http://www.edmonton.ca/city_government/city_vision_and_strategic_plan/the-way-we-green.aspx

2018 State of the Environment Report: Currently in press.