We need to start investing now to get our city ready for the severe weather events, like floods and ice storms, that climate change will bring. Every year of inaction will only increase our costs.
In our 2014 Green Action Agenda, we outlined three actions Council must take to get Toronto ready for climate change:
- By February 2015, (1) provide the authority and funds necessary to properly enforce the city’s tree bylaws by end of 2015 and (2) dedicate the funds required to double tree planting and maintenance (from 2014 levels) by end of 2018, with a commitment to increase planting and maintenance by 25% every year.
Trees are nature’s way of cleaning the air, absorbing water and cooling us. And they are beautiful.
City Council made a decision to stop further improvements to our tree canopy in 2012. That bad decision came back to haunt us with the December ice storm. It’s time the City invested again in the trees which do so much for us.
- By Fall 2015, complete a comprehensive study of the estimated costs over the next 20 years to City Hall, Toronto residents and city-based businesses that climate change (including severe weather events) will bring.
The storms of 2013 made it clear that severe weather events have a huge cost to Toronto residents, businesses and City Hall. Climate change will bring more of these expensive weather events.
Torontonians need to know now what the costs of climate change will be if we continue with “business as usual.” We need to better understand how investing now will save us a lot more in the future.
- By April 2016, adopt a comprehensive, costed action plan for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and getting city infrastructure ready for more severe weather events that climate change will bring.
The July flood and December ice storm made it clear that Toronto is not ready for climate change. Since then, TEA has been pushing city hall to invest
Lots of research has been done about what cities can do and are doing to get ready.
We need a specific action plan that sets out exactly what our City Hall must do to get our infrastructure ready. This plan will be Council’s “to do” list and help Torontonians measure progress.
What you can do:
- Learn about TEA's work on climate change and the 2015 City Budget.
- Attend the first meeting of the City's new Climate Change Subcommittee! The subcommittee is looking to hear from Torontonians on actions the city should take.
- In the 2014 election, John Tory said yes to each of these actions on climate change preparedness. Send him a letter to remind him of his promises.