Toronto Mayor John Tory committed yesterday to speed up the net-zero target for Canada’s largest city by 10 years, from 2050 to 2040, prompting local climate and environment organizations to call for a coherent action plan with proper community input and full funding.
The update to the city’s TransformTO strategy would make Toronto one of only three North American cities with a 2040 target, CBC reports.
“This net-zero strategy represents an important step forward in the good and responsible work we are doing to address climate change as a city government,” Tory said in a release. “I am focused on greener buildings, greener vehicles, and a greener transit system.”
To get there, Tory unveiled a strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 45% by 2025 and 65% by 2030, compared to previous thresholds of 30 and 65%, CBC says. The plan must be approved by a city committee December 2, then the full city council December 15.
The plan lays out five target areas for “rapid action”. It proposes to set a carbon budget for the city, speed up the reduction of natural gas use, set performance standards for existing buildings, increase reliance on renewable energy, and make low-carbon transportation options—walking, biking, transit, and electric vehicles—more widely available.
With greenhouse gas emissions down 38% between 1990 and 2019, the city says it’s on track to exceed its current GHG reduction target.
The Toronto Environmental Alliance said the updated plan appeared at “a critical time to ramp up Toronto’s climate ambition and set us on a path to a climate-safe future.” In an update Wednesday, the organization called for a clear plan to reduce emissions, equity and climate justice at the core of the plan, “meaningful integration of recommendations and feedback” from Indigenous communities, local residents, and organizations, deep connections with other city programs, and full funding for the strategy.
ClimateFast is preparing for the committee and council meetings with a net-zero deputation training Monday evening, November 29.