May 4, 2022
The City of Edmonton was recognized at the 2022 American Planning Association Sustainable Communities Division Awards for its work developing the Edmonton Carbon Budget, a tool to integrate greenhouse gas emissions into the City budgeting and prioritization process.
In December 2020, Edmonton became the first city in North America to develop a carbon budget, embedding it within The City Plan. The following year, the City took the concept one step further in its Community Energy Transition Strategy, asking: what if the City budgeted for carbon emissions the same way it handles finances?
“This is North America’s first municipal carbon budget, meaning that in addition to measuring the dollars and cents of the budget now Edmonton will also measure the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that a project adds or takes away from the environment,” said Howaida Hassan, General Supervisor of the Urban Growth Unit with Urban Planning and Economy Branch. “Many people are putting time and effort into making this work. It’s an iterative project and we are still learning every day. As other municipalities begin to look at carbon budgeting as well, we are now able to share what works and what doesn’t to make sure the process is as effective as possible.”
The carbon budget caps Edmonton’s total carbon emissions over the next three decades, and allows the City to measure our planned actions and progress towards that goal each year and adjust as needed.
“The City is integrating the carbon budget into the overall 2023-2026 budget cycle, which means that City Council will also be considering projects in terms of how they affect emissions,” said Harmalkit Rai, Deputy City Treasurer and Branch Manager of Financial Services. “For example, a road expansion will now be considered in light of its impact on the carbon budget and the project’s impact on air quality, public health and long-term costs.”
The Excellence in Sustainability Awards, which honour projects, plans, policies, individuals and organizations whose work is dedicated to supporting and growing sustainable communities, were presented May 2 in San Diego. The Edmonton Carbon Budget was recognized in the Policy, Law, or Tool Award category.