SSG, Toronto, and Edmonton Win APA Awards For Climate Action Work

On May 2, SSG’s cutting-edge climate planning work was recognized with two awards from the American Planning Association Sustainable Communities Division!

With the City of Toronto, we won the Environment, Climate, & Energy Award for the TransformTO Net-Zero Strategy, attaining a near-perfect score from the jurors. The strategy sets a target of net-zero community emissions by 2040—a decade sooner than most major North American Cities with climate action plans.

Our team modelled emissions reduction pathways to explore how the city could reach net-zero emissions by 2040 and 2050. As our Principal Julia Meyer-Macleod explains on our blog, pursuing net-zero emission by 2040 is feasible, costs less, and results in fewer overall emissions than pursuing net-zero by 2050.

With the City of Edmonton, we won the Policy, Law, or Tool Award for Edmonton’s carbon budget. Jurors were impressed by its status as the first carbon budget in North America, the comprehensive set of strategies backing the budget, and the focus on accountability.

As our Principal Yuill Herbert writes in the National Observer, we believe that every city needs a carbon budget to stay on track with their climate goals. Carbon budgets ensure accountability for municipal decisions by setting a cap on how much a community can emit annually and for all time.

In Edmonton, the carbon budgeting process is being integrated into the financial budgeting process for the 2023-2026 budget cycle. That means that every investment the City makes will be evaluated in terms of emissions as well as finances.

We’re humbled by these awards and hope more communities will be inspired to undertake similar climate action work.

The Art and Science of City Carbon Budgets

In 2017, the City of Oslo pioneered a game-changing approach to fighting climate change: the carbon budget. The budget sets a cap on how much the city can emit before 2030, when Oslo plans to become carbon neutral, and divides that amount into annual budgets. The City’s finance department considers the budget alongside its finances when making decisions. The City describes it as the “most important management tool” for achieving its ambitious goal of net-zero emissions by 2030.  We couldn’t agree more.  Read more

SSG + City of Edmonton Present on Carbon Accounting Frameworks at Sustainable Communities Conference 2020

On October 22, Yuill Herbert and the City of Edmonton’s Abhishek Chakraborti teamed up to deliver a presentation on developing carbon accounting frameworks to manage GHG emissions at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ Sustainable Communities Conference. Read more

5 Reasons Every City Needs a Carbon Budget

Venice is sinking. The West Coast is on fire. Climate emergency declarations have become commonplace. At SSG, we are in the trenches, working with cities across the continent to figure out how to move beyond planning and into climate action.

This requires treating our greenhouse gas emissions with the same attention, scrutiny, and importance as our finances. We recently helped the City of Edmonton become the first city in Canada to do just that by creating a carbon budget. Read more

SSG Co-Founder Yuill Herbert in National Observer

Last week, Edmonton city council passed a historic plan—the first in Canada to incorporate a carbon budget limiting how many greenhouse gas emissions the city can emit.

SSG helped crunch the numbers behind the ground-breaking carbon budget and we hope Edmonton will be the first of many Canadian municipalities to take this step. Read more