On July 4th, Council unanimously passed TransformTO, an ambitious new climate action plan with bold actions to tackle emissions that will also benefit Torontonians.
With the growing impacts of climate change being felt around the world, cities are stepping forward to lead the fight against climate change. By unanimously passing TransformTO, Toronto City Council is showing it’s serious about fighting climate change and ensuring the actions that we take will help us to make progress on other city priorities.
City Council has now adopted the full TransformTO two-part plan. In December of 2015, Council adopted part one of the TransformTO plan that outlined 23 short-term actions the City must implement to achieve a 30% reduction in emissions by 2020. Then on July 4, 2017, Council adopted part two of the TransformTO plan which outlines bold new long-term goals to help the City achieve an 80% reduction by 2050.
The TransformTO 2050 plan will offer much needed benefits to all Torontonians including job creation, poverty reduction, and improvements to social housing and public health. Here are some of the concrete actions that will result in community benefits:
The goal of retrofitting 100% of buildings by 2050 includes a focus on retrofitting social housing units which brings the added benefits of reducing energy bills, improving housing conditions and making homes more comfortable.
The plan will create over 327,000 new person years of employment especially in energy retrofits and construction of new low-carbon buildings. Job placement programs may help vulnerable low-income residents access these work opportunities.
A target of having 100% of transportation use low-carbon energy sources will help reduce pollutants and improve air quality and overall public health.
While we’re taking a moment to celebrate this huge win for Toronto and all the steps along the way, we know our work is far from finished.
To reap the many benefits TransformTO has to offer, Toronto needs to secure the funds to implement all of the actions in this integrated two-part plan. Like the legs of a stool, if we secure only some climate actions and remove others, the climate plan could easily topple.
In 2018 alone, there are 23 TransformTO actions that must move forward at a cost of $6.7 million. While this amount is a drop in a bucket compared to the $3.5 billion to refurbish the Gardiner, some Councillors and the Mayor have warned that they plan to ‘prioritize’ which climate actions are funded in the 2018 Budget.
We will be gearing up before the budget to make sure the money is there to begin building a greener and more prosperous city.