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 March 26, 2007
Toronto releases climate change plan

 Toronto, Canada (GLOBE-Net) -- The City of Toronto has released the framework of a plan to fight climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions for public engagement and review.

Change is in the Air: Toronto's Commitment to an Environmentally Sustainable Future is part of a report to be considered by the City's Executive Committee. It includes actions those in the city can take to tackle climate change and improve air quality; an inventory of the major sources of greenhouse gases and air pollutants in Toronto; and ideas for the strategies, policies, programs and projects needed to meet the City's new emissions reduction targets.

Those targets include a commitment to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the Toronto urban area to six percent below 1990 levels by 2012, similar to Canada's national goal under the Kyoto Protocol. Under the framework, Toronto will further cut emissions by 30 percent by 2020, and by 80 percent before 2050, also based on 1990 levels. The cuts are aligned with recently announced European Union goals and proposals from the Canadian Big City Mayors' Caucus.

As well, Toronto will commit to reduce levels so of smog-causing pollutants by 20 per cent by 2012.

"As Canada's biggest city we have an opportunity and an obligation to lead by tremendous example. Cleaning up the air is the issue of our time; maybe of all time," said Mayor David Miller. "The City cannot win the war on climate change on our own, but we're prepared to lead the way."

The framework includes 27 potential actions for the city to take, including:

  • Energy efficient retrofit of half of single family homes and small businesses by 2020.

  • Mandatory green building standards for new buildings by no later than 2012.

  • Conversion of all City fleets that run on diesel to biodiesel by 2015.

  • Elimination of incandescent bulbs in all City-owned buildings by 2012.

  • Complete conversion of street lighting to LED technology by 2020.

  • Reduction of electricity used for pumping and treating water by reducing water consumption by 50% by 2020.

  • Expansion of deep lake water cooling to meet 90% of space cooling needs (to replace air conditioning) along the waterfront and in the downtown core by 2020.

  • Installation of methane collection at Thackery Landfill by 2009.

  • Use of City Hall as a showcase of environmental sustainability with energy efficiency retrofits, renewable energy, a green roof and environmental education.

  • Meeting 25% of energy demand in the Toronto urban area from renewable sources by 2020.

  • Conservation of 90 megawatts of electricity by 2012.

The framework also mentions adaptation to climate change, proposing vulnerability scans of City operations and action where appropriate.

A variety of tools are proposed to meet the above goals, including information campaigns, marketing of the federal government's ecoEnergy subsidy programs, and an annual parking or vehicle registration fee with the proceeds used to establish a revolving fund to support retrofit and renewable energy programs.

Many of the components in the plan can be undertaken by the City itself if it chooses to do so and has the available finances, while others will depend on other government programs or the responses to Torontonians to government policies.

Noting that City operations contribute 6 percent of the urban area's GHG emissions versus 94 percent from homes, apartments, commercial businesses, manufacturing plants, and cars and trucks, the City will undertake public consultation on the framework at beginning in April.

The proposed framework and information on the consultations can be found here.

Toronto's plan follows a number of actions by regional and municipal governments to reduce GHG emissions beyond commitments made at the federal level. The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) (a cap and trade scheme launched by seven northeast states), an ambitious plan by California, and the recently announced British Columbia climate change plan are all examples of leadership from lower levels of government. As well, mayors of 168 cities across the United States have signed a pledge committing their cities to the goals of the Kyoto Protocol.



For More Information: City of Toronto