Toronto's mayor wants city to hit net zero GHG emissions 10 years earlier than planned

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Toronto had set a target for a 30 per cent reduction by 2020, a 65 per cent reduction by 2030 and net zero emissions by 2050. The city says residential, commercial and industrial buildings account for 57 per cent of its emissions, primarily due to the natural gas used to heat them. (John Rieti/CBC - image credit)
Toronto had set a target for a 30 per cent reduction by 2020, a 65 per cent reduction by 2030 and net zero emissions by 2050. The city says residential, commercial and industrial buildings account for 57 per cent of its emissions, primarily due to the natural gas used to heat them. (John Rieti/CBC - image credit)

Toronto Mayor John Tory wants the city to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to net zero 10 years earlier than planned, making it one of only three big cities in North America to aim for that milestone by 2040.

On Thursday, Tory announced the strategy to curb greenhouse gas emissions by 45 per cent by 2025, a step toward a 65 per cent reduction by 2030.

Toronto had set a target for a 30 per cent reduction by 2020, a 65 per cent reduction by 2030 and net zero emissions by 2050.

The report will be considered by the city's infrastructure and environment committee on Dec. 2 and if approved, by Toronto city council by Dec. 15.

"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. I am focused on greener buildings, greener vehicles, and a greener transit system," Tory said in a news release.

'Rapid action'

Meeting the target will require "rapid action" on five key areas, the city says. Those include:

  • Establishing a carbon budget.

  • Accelerating a reduction in the use of natural gas.

  • Setting performance targets for existing buildings.

  • Increasing access to low-carbon transportation options — including walking, biking, transit and electric vehicles.

  • Increasing renewable energy.

Transportation is the second largest source of emissions at 36 per cent, with gasoline for vehicles the main driver of greenhouse gases.

Residential, commercial and industrial buildings account for 57 per cent of Toronto's emissions, primarily due to the natural gas used to heat them.

The city says it must rapidly decrease its emissions if it hopes to achieve its goal in 2030.

It also says it's on course to exceed its greenhouse gas emissions reduction target and that its greenhouse gas emissions in 2019 were 38 per cent lower when compared with 1990.

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