John Cartwright, President of the Toronto & York Region Labour Council, wrote an Opinion piece “How Toronto could lead the climate change charge in Canadian cities” , which appeared in the National Observer on June 15. The focus of Cartwright’s article is the Transform TO plan currently being debated in Toronto City Council after two years of public engagement, expert input and in-depth analysis . Cartwright is member of the cross-sectoral Modelling Advisory Group that informed the Transform TO project. The target is to reduce carbon emissions by 80 per cent below 1990 levels by 2050. Given that half of the Toronto’s carbon emissions come from buildings, 41 per cent from transportation and 11 per cent from waste, key Transform TO recommendations are: 100% of new buildings to be designed and built to be near zero GHG emissions by 2030; 100% of transportation options- including public transit and personal vehicles – to use low or zero-carbon energy sources, and active transportation to account for 75% of trips under 5 km city-wide by 2050; and 95% of waste to be diverted by 2050 in all sectors – residential, institutional, commercial and industrial.
Details of the plan are presented in Staff Report #1, approved by City Council in December 2016, and Staff Report #2 , approved by the Environment and Parks committee in May, and slated for a Council vote in early July. Technical reports are here .
An overview is available in 2050 Pathway to a Low-Carbon Toronto Report 2: Highlights of the City of Toronto Staff Report . Report #2 highlights that Transform TO will provide significant community benefits, such as improved public health, lower operating costs for buildings, and local job creation and training opportunities for communities that have traditionally faced barriers to employment – with an estimate that the planned building retrofits alone would create 80,000 person years of employment.
Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver are members of C40 , a network whose goal is to act on climate change and reduce emissions. In cooperation with Sustania and Realdania , C40 compiled case studies from 100 cities (including Toronto and Vancouver) , meant to showcase innovative programs. Their most recent blog, “Mayors lead the global response to Trump’s pull out of the Paris Agreement” is a blunt rebuke to Trump and a determination to continue to work at local solutions. Similarly, Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre repeated that the mayors of the world would honour the Paris Agreement, as he welcomed more than 140 mayors and 1,000 international and local delegates gathered to the annual Metropolis World Congress from June 19 to 22.