As the Program Director for the Climate Innovation Fund (CIF), Mike Mellross recognizes that Alberta’s Low Carbon Cities Canada (LC3) Centres will have interesting challenges to overcome and opportunities to nurture.
“We are grateful for the hard work of the people in the oil and gas industry who have provided many benefits for Alberta and Canada,” he says. “We know we are builders and have so many capacities for innovation. So, we need to support our economy’s transformation and help achieve the deep emissions targets that will lead us to a low carbon future. Leaders in all sectors are very willing to look at new business models and new energy systems, and work towards carbon neutrality as a goal. It’s all about how we get there together!”
Hosted by the Alberta Ecotrust Foundation (AEF), CIF’s endowments from the federal government support two Centres: one in Calgary and one in Edmonton. Though working under one banner, each Centre will focus on the unique challenges and opportunities of their respective city, and will have their own distinct funds, grant program, projects, initiatives, and more. They join the other LC3 Centres in the network, led by five other organizations in cities across the country and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.
“CIF is ambitious!” says Mellross. “I think it will be critical to take our lead from the cities themselves. They have developed robust local climate plans with frameworks and pathways for success. The LC3 network is a great platform for sharing best practices and ideas – we are all very supportive [and excited about] doing that.”
Mellross is excited to continue to build on the operational strengths of AEF, and of an already active climate action ecosystem in Alberta. “We must be very catalytic in our actions,” he says about his future plans to foster innovative climate action in both cities. “We need to look for opportunities that are going to leapfrog rather than base our solutions on incremental [progress]. Solutions that are equally beneficial to the environment, the economy, and the people in our communities.”
Over his 30-year career, Mellross has worked for various private enterprises, with a focus on consulting, engineering, and wildlife management.
He has also worked for the City of Edmonton where he initiated the procurement plan to purchase 100% green electricity for all city operations, managed the City’s climate change office, as well as developed the energy transition strategy and renewable energy programs.
Photo courtesy of Alberta Ecotrust Foundation.