Fri. Jan 21st, 2022

The costs and compromises of fighting climate change in Toronto are becoming clearer – and they will be huge.

Toronto Hydro says it will cost up to $ 10 billion to build the expanded electricity distribution network needed to reach net zero emissions by 2050, according to a report going to the city’s executive committee next week.

Fulfilling this capital investment could result in annual rate hikes of eight to nine percent for Toronto Hydro’s private customers from 2025 to 2029. Between 2030 and 2034, rates could increase by an average of five to six percent per year.

Minor distribution rate increases may follow, according to a report from the public utility.

Meanwhile, the city’s Infrastructure and Environment Committee voted this week to move the deadline for TransformTO’s net zero emissions target forward 10 years – to 2040 with a plan considering tolls for all arterial roads, free transit and allowing half of the workers in Greater Greater. Toronto Hamilton Area to work from home on any given day.

“This will make people uncomfortable,” Coun said. Mike Layton, during the committee’s discussion of the subject, which goes to City Council on December 15th. The council is expected to commit to the staffing plan, but there is nothing to suggest that this council or future councils should implement all steps in it.

“We’re going to do things like a city that we’ve never done before. But that’s exactly what we need because the level of change we need in a short time is so enormous and many people is not aware of the extent of what needs to change. ”

Layton said the new 2040 target is “rather aggressive”, but required, especially in light of the growing number of climate disasters, such as the floods that hit BC in November and the forest fires there earlier in the year that led to a provincial state of emergency. declared.

grev. Denzil Minnan-Wong said he has read about the sky-high energy costs in Europe as a result of rapidly changing climate change actions.

“I’m worried about what the impact of this will be on the residents of this city in terms of costs that have not been clearly described,” Minnan-Wong said.

He said he was concerned that the plans allow for contracts with sole source for reports and other projects, and said it would be dangerous to weaken procurement rules.

He said he is concerned that “this file may get out of control,” if unsolicited contracts are not adequately scrutinized.

In a speech to the Toronto Hydro Plan to spend $ 10 billion on upgrading the network to achieve net zero emissions, Coun said. Gord Perks said the cost of not doing so would be much higher.

“We’ve been living in a false economy for a generation, and our infrastructure simply does not match the world we have to create,” Perks said.

He said the city underwent a similar process of water prices through the 2000s, with annual nine percent increases being implemented for nine years and remaining high for a few years after that, effectively doubling the water rate.

“Scarborough and North York had not invested in their water system for decades,” Perks said.

“And now we face a similar challenge. But you know we’ve been living in a fool’s paradise for a long time, and now we have to catch up.”

TransformTO, Toronto’s climate action strategy, was unanimously approved by the City Council in 2017 to demonstrate Toronto’s commitment to a global call for action to curb rising global temperatures.

The recent rise in destructive weather events, from extreme floods in BC. to more powerful hurricanes and tornadoes in the United States, to forest fires in North America and droughts around the world, has created a new sense of urgency.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has said that cities globally must halve global emissions by 2030.

Environmentalists said they are pleased the city of Toronto appears to be moving toward a more aggressive approach to lowering emissions.

“It’s a step up for the city of Toronto in terms of emissions,” said Diana Yoon, a climate specialist at the Toronto Environmental Alliance (TEA).

Yoon said TEA would like to see a price impact plan applied to any potential Toronto Hydro rate hikes.

“We want to ensure that climate action is done fairly,” Moon said. “We do not want the cost of climate action to be passed on to residents, especially tenants as tenants or tenants with low incomes.”

Bryan Purcell, vice president, policy and programs, The Atmospheric Fund, praised Toronto Hydro for completing its first climate action plan, adding that further work will be needed to ensure it is in line with the city’s net-zero strategy .

He urged both parties not to get stuck in the planning.

“We can not afford to postpone climate action in favor of further planning. We urge Toronto Hydro and the city to ensure the immediate implementation of Toronto Hydro’s climate plan, including quick-start actions on LED street lighting, charging of electric vehicles and the development of a large-scale solar and storage program. ”

Francine Kopun is a Toronto-based reporter covering City Hall and municipal politics for Star. Follow her on Twitter: @KopunF
David Rider is the bureau chief of Star’s City Hall and a reporter covering town hall and municipal politics. Follow him on Twitter: @dmrider

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