Cities play a key role in cutting smog emissions and curbing greenhouse gases. That's because over 80% of Canadians live in cities.
Not surprisingly, city governments are uniquely placed to influence corporate and individual behaviour by providing better public transit and through rules governing land use planning, street design, building codes, vehicle idling and parking.
Municipal governments are also responsible for the direct emission of greenhouse (and smog-causing) gases as owners and operators of vehicle fleets, buildings, and water and sewage treatment facilities. They can reduce their own contribution to climate change by greening their fleets (cleaner fuels and vehicles), making their buildings and operations more energy efficient, and investing in green power for their own use.
For over 20 years, TEA has been calling on the City of Toronto to become the Canadian leader in the fight against climate change. That's why we've called on the City to:
Improve the TTC by lowering fares, improving existing service, and expanding service.
Make streets that are safe for cyclists and pedestrians.
Implement the toughest energy efficiency rules in North America for new buildings and incentives for innovative 'green building' techniques.
Make city-owned Toronto Hydro a leader in renewable energy and conservation.
Plant more trees - and protect existing ones - to provide shade and help filter the air.
Fix up low-income housing so that it is more energy efficient and provide other support as necessary so that no one has to choose between eating and heating or paying the rent.
In early 2007, the newly elected Mayor announced Toronto would be developing a comprehensive plan to cut smog and curb climate change. In February 2007, the City of Toronto asked a number of environmental groups, including TEA, about what should be in the City's proposed smog and climate change plan. Click here to read TEA's deputation.
In July 2007, the City finally adopted an aggressive smog and climate change plan called Change is in the Air. This plan, unanimously adopted by Toronto City Council, includes key recommendations TEA has made throughout the past 10 years to clean Toronto's air and curb climate change.
But having a good plan is only the first step.
Now, the City must implement the plan and properly fund it.
TEA's annual Smog Report Card rates the City's efforts at reducing smog emissions and offers key recommendations that the City could take to clean the air.