Measure Description

City Operations’ Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions measures the amount of GHG emissions from City Operations including buildings and other facilities owned by the City, as well as streetlights, vehicle fleet, transit fleet, solid waste management and GHG emissions from landfills. The measure also includes an estimate of the reduction in GHG emissions generated by trees the City maintains, and (beginning in 2013) the emissions saved by the City’s purchase of green electricity. Data on energy consumption and emissions is collected from third parties, the urban tree inventory, landfill hauler summary reports for waste loads hauled to landfills by contractors, and the landfill waste degradation models. 

The City Operations' Greenhouse Gas Emissions do not include emissions relating to water and wastewater treatment (including drainage operations), as the responsibility for these operations fully resides with EPCOR.  As a result, they are reported and included in the Community Greenhouse Gas Emissions measure. 
The City uses The Climate Registry General Reporting Protocol (Version 2.1, January 2016) to prepare this report of emissions. This is consistent with the approach of other large municipalities around the world, and allows comparison among these communities. When making any change to the accounting of GHG emissions, prior period adjustments must be made back to the baseline year (2005). As such, the quantity of emissions may differ here from what has been reported in the past. The absolute target has also been updated, although the percentage decrease 

Measure Importance

Climate change due to an increase in GHG emissions impacts Edmontonians’ long-term quality of life. The City wants to take a leadership position in reducing and monitoring its emissions in order to encourage Edmontonians and other municipalities to do the same.

Historical Data

Data sources: City Environmental Strategies coordinates the collection of data from all internal groups at the City of Edmonton, the Edmonton Police Service, and EPCOR. Information on emissions from contracted services is provided by City Operations staff.

Explanation of Performance

In 2017 City Operations’ GHG emissions totaled 425 thousand tCO2e (tonnes of carbon dioxide), which was reduced from 513 thousand tCO2e through to the procurement of green electricity and the contribution of the urban forest to GHG reduction.

Between 2005 and 2017, City Operations’ GHG emissions have increased by almost 25 percent, while GHG emissions per Edmonton’s resident have declined 6.3 percent. The increase in absolute GHG emissions is indicative of a city whose emissions are growing faster than the rate of reductions. The decline in per person GHG emissions is a result of the City’s focus on reducing energy usage from operations.
Assessment of GHG emissions takes into consideration both where the emissions are coming from and the fuel source. In Alberta, more than 40 percent of electricity generation capacity is natural gas-fired and 60 percent is coal-fired. This means that although most of the GHG emissions (54 percent) are from electricity usage, since most of the Alberta grid is largely fossil-fuel based (i.e coal), there are still higher GHG emissions than if the source of electricity generation was renewables (i.e. solar or windmills).
For City Operations, although the corporate energy fuel sources are relatively balanced among electricity, diesel and natural gas, energy use has increased as the City continues to grow. Buildings, fleet and waste management have increased energy use from 4 to 10 percent between 2016 and 2017, while total energy use for City Operations increased by 2.9 percent in the same period. This overall increase in energy use impacts GHG emissions.
Edmonton's GHG emissions in 2017 can be broken down by operational area as follows:
• 50% came from the heating, cooling and electricity used in city buildings and other facilities (like recreation centres, pools, and waste management facilities); 
• 26% came from transportation, which includes all vehicles, buses, LRT (light rail transit) trains and streetcars operated by City Operations, the Edmonton Police Service, Edmonton Fire Rescue, and Edmonton Transit;
• 13% came from the operation of streetlights, security lights and traffic signals; and 
• 11% came from the decomposition of waste at City-operated landfills.

Edmonton's GHG emissions can also be broken down based on their fuel source, as follows:
• 53% came from electricity use (in buildings, outdoor lighting, and to power the LRT);
• 21% came from diesel and gasoline used to operate vehicles and equipment; and
• 16% came from natural gas used to heat buildings.
The remaining portion came from landfill emissions.

Did You Know?

Edmonton has an Energy Transition Strategy that is transforming Edmonton into an energy sustainable city. The purpose of this strategy is to:

1) Reduce Edmonton’s greenhouse gas emissions to levels consistent with limiting the long-term rise in average global temperature to 1.5⁰C; 
2) Increase energy efficiency and conservation in all sectors;
3) Ensure Edmonton’s energy delivery systems are resilient to impacts from climate change; and
4) Position Edmonton to participate in global economic opportunities as the world transitions to cleaner energy.

A comprehensive State of the Environment report has been prepared to highlight the condition of Edmonton’s environment and measuring the various factors that are contributing to that condition, including progress on the City’s environmental initiatives. The report supports the implementation of The Way We Green by helping citizens, City Council and City Administration make informed decisions. The Way We Green is the City of Edmonton’s environmental strategic plan. It sets out principles, goals, objectives, policies and approaches for Edmonton to live in balance with nature.

Useful Links

Learn more about the City Operations Greenhouse Gas Management Plan:

Learn more about the City of Edmonton’s greenhouse gas mitigation efforts in Edmonton’s Energy Transition Strategy:

On-line version - State of the Environment Report:

Printable version - State of the Environment Report:

Past Reports on the Environment:

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