Podcast examines what spending decisions say about priorities

Podcast examines what spending decisions say about priorities

· The Pulse

Episode 198 of Speaking Municipally digs a little deeper into Edmonton's carbon budget.

The previously noted discrepancy between the City Plan's target (135 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions between 2019 and 2050) and the target listed in the city's first carbon budget (176 million tonnes between 2022 and 2050) has to do with whether we're trying to comply with the Paris Agreement or the more stringent "community carbon fair share budget" of the C40 Cities agreement. The 2021 fall supplemental operating budget adjustment explains it further.

However, Edmonton is not on track to meet either target, and the lack of funding for emissions-reducing measures in the city's proposed budget has disappointed the Energy Transition Climate Resilience Committee.

Speaking Municipally co-hosts Troy Pavlek and Mack Male noted that Calgary's budget seems to be taking climate change more seriously while acknowledging that such spending is simply to lay the foundation for even harder work ahead. "For us to not be setting the foundation, it means that we are not only going to have a hard time solving those very difficult problems, we're just not going to be able to solve it," said Pavlek.

The foundational measures Edmonton's climate committee wants to see funded — such as the Bike Plan, electric bus infrastructure, and energy retrofits of city buildings — are actions we know will make a difference, as opposed to the future changes that are "known unknowns" at this point, Male added.

"Getting to that last mile on emissions reduction will involve solving problems that we don't know how to solve yet," he said. "How do we transfer mobility from emissions-burning to emissions-reducing? That is a big problem that we have the start of solutions to but not the full solution."

Hear more takes on the carbon budget, as well as the unfunded demolition of the Northlands Coliseum, the decisions on how to spend downtown vibrancy funds, a subsidy for single-use item reduction, and the discontinued parking ban in Wolf Willow on the Nov. 11 episode of Taproot's civic affairs podcast.