Toronto council unanimously supports climate change action plan

Toronto city council unanimously approved a climate change action plan Tuesday. Getty Images File

Toronto City Council has unanimously supported a climate change action plan, TransformTO, which aims to reduce the city’s greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent by the year 2050.

The plan makes a variety of recommendations to building designs, retrofitted social housing, transportation, waste diversion programs, renewable energy, and more. It’s estimated 67 per cent of the emissions reductions will save money over their lifetime and 33 per cent will cost money, given current technologies and other financial assumptions.

Over it’s two year conception, the plan has seen the engagement of experts as well as more than 2,000 residents.

It comes with a hefty price tag of $60 billion over the next three decades, with the goal of having other levels of government, the private sector, and partnerships covering about 90 per cent of the cost.

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A motion, brought forward by Coun. Mary-Margaret McMahon, will have TransformTO business cases prioritized on a basis of greenhouse gas reductions per dollar spent through the 2018 budget process.

In a statement, Mayor John Tory says more transit will be built including the Relief Line, social housing will be made viable for the long-term, and other buildings will remain energy-efficient.

“As a city, we need to set ambitious goals to reduce the negative impacts of climate change and increase Toronto’s resilience so we can address the very real social and economic challenges of the 21st century,” Tory wrote.

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“TransformTO will help ensure the long term vibrancy and livability of our city.”

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Mayor Tory is appealing to the other two levels of government and the private sector to achieve the city’s goals in this plan.

The Atmospheric Fund (TAF) also released a statement Tuesday evening welcoming council’s unanimous adoption of the strategy, stating it looks forward to turning the visionary plan into reality.

“We applaud today’s decision by Mayor Tory and city council to unanimously approve TransformTO and renew Toronto’s climate leadership role,” said Mary Pickering, TAF’s VP for Programs and Partnerships and project co-chair for TransformTO.

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“Implementing TransformTO will not only cut carbon emissions by 80 per cent by 2050 but also boost public health, local jobs, and social equity in our city.”

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