Toronto exceeded its Kyoto target of a 6% reduction by 2012: GHG emissions are 16% lower than they were in 1990, despite major growth in the city during this time period. This amazing achievement is the result of strong conservation efforts, improved fuel and appliance efficiency standards, increased waste diversion, and, most notably, an enormous reduction in greenhouse gas and air pollution thanks to the Province of Ontario’s coal phase-out. Our 16% reduction brings us more than half-way to our 2020 target, but achieving another overall 14% reduction within the next few years will require an intensive effort.
The 2011 City of Toronto Future Weather and Climate Driver study and Clean Air Partnership Study discuss how climate change will affect weather patterns in Toronto in the future. The reports show that we will continue to see milder winters overall, have more frequent and intense precipitation, and experience more extreme weather events in general. Toronto Public Health notes numerous health issues brought about by climate. In addition to more extremes of heat and cold, more frequent, heavy rainfalls have poured into the sewer systems causing local flooding. The Health Benefits of a Low-Carbon Future is another Toronto Public Health report that paints a synergistic picture about how some high-impact urban climate actions can support and enhance the health of our local populations.
TAF and the City of Toronto Environment and Energy Division are jointly advancing TransformTO, a project that will compare and contrast different ways to achieve our GHG targets, considering the implications for other City goals like improving public health, supporting the local economy, and strengthening social equity. See examples of other Toronto climate initiatives and previous climate action plans here.