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 remains the same.

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 2019 City Operations’ GHG emissions totaled 324 thousand tCO2e (tonnes of carbon dioxide), which was reduced from 447 thousand tCO2e (a reduction of 28 percent) through the procurement of green electricity and the sequestration of CO2 in the urban forest.

Between 2005 and 2019, total GHG emissions from City Operations declined by 24 percent, while on a per capita basis this was a decline of 44 percent. These reductions are due primarily to execution of the City's Greenhouse Gas Management Plan for Civic Operations, which in 2019 included energy efficiency measures and the purchase of green electricity. 
The City of Edmonton's purchase of renewable electricity credits (RECs) in 2019 is of particular note.
This purchase of 170,000 MWh of green electricity offset 58% of the emissions resulting from electricity used in the City's operations.
This is significant progress towards Edmonton's goal of sourcing 100% of its corporate electricity from renewable or alternative sources by 2030. 
Within City Operations, total energy use increased slightly over 2018 as the City continued to grow. The total energy used for City Operations increased by 1.1 percent relative to 2018, and by 46 percent since the baseline 2005 reporting year. Buildings, fleet and waste management have increased energy use by 2 to 4 percent between 2018 and 2019. These increases were offset by declines in energy use for streetlights (5 percent) and the transit fleet (1 percent).
Edmonton's GHG emissions in 2019 can be broken down by operational area as follows:
• 44% came from the heating, cooling and electricity used in city buildings and other facilities (like recreation centres, pools, and waste management facilities); 
• 28% 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;
• 10% came from the operation of streetlights, security lights and traffic signals; and 
• 12% 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:
• 45% came from electricity use (in buildings, outdoor lighting, and to power the LRT);
• 23% came from diesel and gasoline used to operate vehicles and equipment; and
• 21% came from natural gas used to heat buildings.
The remaining portion came from landfill emissions.

Did You Know?

Edmonton has a Community Energy Transition Strategy that is being used to transform 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.

The Energy Transition Strategy is currently being updated to reflect the most recent scientific knowledge about climate change, and to ensure Edmonton's climate change mitigation efforts continue to be world-leading.

Useful Links

Learn more about Edmonton's GHG Management Plan for City Operations.

Learn more about Edmonton's Community Energy Transition Strategy

Learn how you can participate in Edmonton's Edmonton's energy transition.

Learn more about the research that will inform updates to the Energy Transition Strategy: 2020 Energy Transition Strategy Update: Policy Briefs