On March 10th, City Council will vote on a motion for Toronto to endorse phasing out gas-fired electricity generation in Ontario "as soon as possible." 19 other municipalities have already endorsed this call to action. (Learn more about the campaign).
Read our letter in support of the motion.
March 3, 2021
Clerk, City of Toronto
100 Queen Street West
Toronto M5H 2N2
Re: MM28.21 – Calling on the Province to Phase-Out Gas-Fired Electricity Generation
Please distribute this letter to all members of Toronto City Council.
I am writing to you on behalf of Toronto Environmental Alliance to support the motion “Calling on the Province to Phase-Out Gas-Fired Electricity Generation” (MM28.21) put forward by Councillor McKelvie and Councillor Layton calling for the City to urge the Province of Ontario to phase-out all gas-fired electricity generation as soon as possible.
As you know, we commend Toronto Mayor John Tory and City Council for declaring a climate emergency in 2019, committing to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 (2040 if possible). However, it will be nearly impossible for Toronto to meet these climate targets if the Province decides to meet electricity demand with gas-fired power plants.
Echoing other submissions, it is worrying that Toronto’s fossil gas generation emissions are on the rise, increasing 68% from 2017 to 2018 -- and that total carbon emissions in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area increased 5.2% in 2018. Based on current provincial plans to ramp up fossil gas generation, Toronto’s electricity emissions are expected to triple by 2030.
This is the wrong direction for Toronto and Ontario. While the coal phase-out had significant health and environmental benefits, this action could unfortunately reverse over 35% of the annual emissions reductions from phasing out coal. Furthermore, this reduces the effectiveness of decarbonizing heating and transportation (e.g. deep building retrofits, electric cars and buses), which are necessary components of the City’s TransformTO climate plan.
Renewable electricity technologies can now supply us with cost-effective and emissions-free energy. There is also the opportunity for low-carbon jobs in the transition to a clean energy economy. We hear from residents regularly about the need for strong climate action. The City needs to speak up to ensure that the Province’s actions don’t block Toronto’s progress towards a climate-friendly future.
Emmay Mah, Executive Director
Toronto Environmental Alliance