As British Columbia suffers from climate-related devastation, the city of Toronto is ready to move its target date to become CO2-neutral by a decade, to 2040.
A city staff report released Thursday proposes strategies primarily aimed at getting Toronto to an initial 2030 target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to levels 65 percent lower than emissions created in 1990.
Potential measures include an urban discount for buyers of electric vehicles, continued conversion of Toronto’s bus fleet to electric power, promotion of buildings converting from natural gas heat to electric heat pumps, and a list of desired actions by provincial and federal governments.
“Toronto must first be on the right track to reach its 2030 City Council’s agreed goal of a 65 percent emission reduction from 1990 levels,” says the report, which is due to go to a city council next week and the city council next month.
“Without adapting our action and implementation to the steeper trajectory, net zero in 2040 or 2050 will be out of reach.”
While Toronto’s greenhouse gas emissions fall each year, without change, the city would not even reach its current 2050 CO2 neutrality target.
“Data show that acting gradually will not be enough to get us on the net-zero path,” where the release of climate change-inducing pollutants in Toronto does not exceed the amount removed or offset, it says in the report.
The current proposals are not going to change lives dramatically for Torontoians. Some are accelerations of existing urban initiatives. They include:
- Establishment of a “carbon budget” to help the city track climate action relative to annual emission limits, allowing for remedial action to fill any “gaps in action.”
- Establishment of voluntary emission targets for homes and other buildings that will become mandatory over time, with reporting requirements.
- Increasing access to “low-carbon transport options” such as walking, cycling and public transport, with opportunities to “incentives to introduce electric vehicles and discourage the use of carbon-polluting petrol and diesel vehicles.”
- Boost the opportunities for residents, organizations and businesses to generate renewable energy and help “decarbonize” the electricity grid.
Mayor John Tory told a news conference that the Indians of Toronto cannot see the devastating floods and landslides in BC, on the heels of devastating heat and forest fires, and believe that Toronto will not suffer from climate change as well.
He noted that basement flooding is a growing problem and that wild storms could see parts of Toronto under water. grev. Jennifer McKelvie, who as a researcher studied climate change, warned about high-rise residents suffering from record heat.
“Toronto has a responsibility to be a leader,” and set an example for other Canadian cities, said McKelvie, chairman of the Infrastructure and Environment Committee.
grev. Mike Layton, who before entering politics worked on climate change at Environmental Defense, said in an interview that Toronto needs to move more aggressively to help the world avoid climate disasters.
“The level of (proposed) action is far from ideal, and we rely too heavily on other levels of government,” Layton said, noting that Vancouver has decreed that as of January, new low-rise buildings can only have “zero-emission equipment” for space. and water heating.
“The alarm bells are ringing all around us, and if there’s a moment to start steering the ship in the right direction, it is now,” Layton said.