Taking Action on the Climate Crisis
Immediate, coordinated action to address the climate crisis is essential, and I strongly support funding TransformTO, Toronto's ambitious plan to reduce community-wide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Toronto to net zero by 2040.
Flooding, increasing temperatures, and dramatic changes in weather, are all consequences of climate change. These impacts have a significant economic cost while climate change-driven increases in extreme heat and air quality warnings from wildfire smoke put more and more residents' health at risk.
We cannot afford inaction on the climate crisis. I continue to work with community environmental groups such as the Pocket Change Project while taking action on climate change at City Hall, such as my work fighting the Portlands gas plant and opposing fossil fuel energy generation in Toronto.
TransformTO Net Zero Strategy
Toronto City Council adopted the TransformTO Net Zero Strategy, our plan to get to net zero by 2040 – 10 years earlier than initially proposed. The city’s 2040 target is one of the most ambitious in North America.
With the adoption of the Net Zero Strategy, the City’s GHG reduction targets, from 1990 levels, are:
- 30 per cent by 2020
- 45 per cent by 2025
- 65 per cent by 2030
- Net zero by 2040
Meeting the City’s future GHG reduction targets will require rapid action to scale up existing programs, additional authorities for the City to implement effectively, and significant levels of investment and coordination with other levels of government.
The Strategy identifies actions and targets to be achieved by 2030 in key sectors, including buildings, transportation and waste. (More information on the targets is available in the 2030 Goals by Sector tab, below.) Toronto’s community-wide emissions must be cut in half in the next 10 years to meet the 2030 target of a 65 per cent emissions reduction.
To reach its targets, the city is focusing on five key areas:
- Demonstrate carbon accountability locally and globally, by establishing a carbon budget for its own operations and the community as a whole.
- Accelerate a rapid and significant reduction in natural gas use
- Establish performance targets for existing buildings across Toronto
- Increase access to low-carbon transportation options, including walking, biking, public transit and electric vehicles
- Increase local renewable energy to contribute to a resilient, carbon-free grid
Community-wide emissions have decreased by 43 per cent since 1990, despite a significant growth in population, and while Toronto’s gross domestic product (GDP) continued to rise. Like other major cities globally, the City issues its emissions inventory on a two-year lag cycle, to ensure the best available data
The primary sources of GHG emissions in Toronto are homes and buildings (58 per cent), mainly from burning natural gas to heat space and water; transportation (33 per cent), mainly from gasoline used in personal vehicles; and waste (9 per cent), mainly from methane released in landfills. For more information, please see the 2020 Sector-Based Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory tab below.
Everyone can play a role in reducing Toronto’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Key Programs and Initiatives
- Providing low-interest loans to homeowners to help make homes more energy efficient through the Home Energy Loan Program. Other programs supporting residents to make energy retrofits and reduce emissions from homes and buildings include:
- Rapidly expanding and improving the City’s cycling network through the Cycling Network Plan
- Advancing the Missing Sidewalk Link Program to provide safe, comfortable and accessible sidewalks on all public streets in Toronto
- Helping achieve an interim 2030 target to have 30 per cent of registered vehicles in Toronto be electric by implementing the Electric Vehicle (EV) Strategy. To help meet EV charging needs, Toronto Parking Authority is adding 650 EV chargers in off-street (garages and lots) and on-street Green P locations by the end of 2024. More information is available on the City's Electric Vehicles webpage
- Protecting the environment and water quality in Lake Ontario, rivers, streams and other water bodies from stormwater through the Wet Weather Flow Master Plan (WWFMP)
- As part of the WWFMP, the Don River and Central Waterfront project will virtually eliminate combined sewer overflows and stormwater runoff being released into the Lower Don River, Taylor-Massey Creek and Toronto’s inner harbour, significantly improving water quality and aquatic habitat
- Promoting and enabling waste reduction through continued implementation of the Long Term Waste Management Strategy, including the development of the Single-Use and Takeaway Items Reduction Strategy, Community Reduce & Reuse Programs, Food Waste Reduction and other programs
- Helping address heat relief and climate resiliency through updates to the city's Heat Relief Strategy and improvements to the Cool Spaces Near You mapping system
- Protecting ravines by maintaining and improving their ecological health through continued implementation of the City’s Ravine Strategy
- Providing mentorship, training and networking opportunities to help emerging women leaders advance their climate-related projects and business start-ups through the Women4ClimateTO Mentorship Program
- Providing training and supports to help residents catalyze climate action in their communities through the Neighbourhood Climate Action Champions program
- Planting and maintaining trees on City land to increase the City’s tree canopy to 40 per cent by 2050. More information, including volunteer opportunities, can be found on the City’s Tree Planting & Stewardship Events webpage
Resources and Reports
- The City of Toronto's Climate, Energy & Resilience website
- The City of Toronto's TransformTO Net Zero Strategy website
- TransformTO Net Zero Strategy Document
- TransformTO Net Zero Strategy Short-term Implementation Plan 2022-2025
- TransformTO – Critical Steps for Net Zero by 2040 (staff report)
- TransformTO Net Zero Framework Technical Report (Parts 1 & 2)
- TransformTO Net Zero Framework Technical Report (Part 3)
- TransformTO 2022 Annual Report (May 2023 City Council item)
- Carbon Accountability Report (May 2023 City Council item)
- Pocket Change Project website