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News, Ontario

Toronto passes long-term climate action plan

Posted on July 5, 2017

City Council has approved Toronto’s long-term path to reduce city-wide greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent by 2050. The TransformTO Pathway to a Low Carbon Future report recommends ambitious strategies and long-term goals to transform Toronto’s urban systems – specifically buildings, energy, transportation, and waste.

“I am proud that City Council has moved forward with TransformTO – a climate action plan to reduce Toronto’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 80 per cent by 2050,” said mayor John Tory. “As a city, we need to set ambitious goals to reduce the negative impacts of climate change and increase Toronto’s resilience so we can address the very real social and economic challenges of the 21st century.”

“Reducing our greenhouse gases by 80 per cent by 2050 will be possible with current technologies but it will require bold action from the city, the community, and stakeholders across all sectors,” said Ward 32 councillor Mary Margaret McMahon, who also is chair of the Parks and Environment Committee. “We will all need to play a part to reduce the emissions that contribute to climate change and to create a more livable city.”

The report identifies 23 strategies and three acceleration campaigns to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to achieve key goals including:

  • all new buildings will be built to produce near zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030;
  • 100 per cent of existing buildings will be retrofitted to achieve an average 40 per cent energy use performance improvement by 2050;
  • 100 per cent of all transportation will use low-carbon energy sources by 2050; and
  • walking and cycling will account for 75 per cent of trips of less than five kilometres by 2050.

The Pathway to a Low Carbon Future report was developed by TransformTO, a project initiated by City Council in 2015 to create a community-wide, cross-corporate renewal of Toronto’s 2007 Climate Action Plan. The recommendations reflect a multi-lens approach to create a low-carbon Toronto that is healthy, equitable and prosperous.

With the adoption of the report, the city will begin to work with stakeholders to implement the recommended strategies. The strategies will help Toronto exceed its short-term target of a 30 per cent greenhouse gas reduction by 2020 and will set the city on a path to reach a city-wide emission-reduction target of 80 per cent by 2050. The strategies also seek to maximize job creation, improve air quality and enhance public health.

Transform TO is led by the city’s Environment and Energy Division and The Atmospheric Fund. The recommendations in this report were developed using a detailed technical modelling process and draw on extensive community engagement. Toronto’s goal of a community-wide reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of 80 per cent by 2050 was unanimously adopted by City Council in 2007.

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