Helmfried Muller, Ice Storm, 2013

How we can Prepare for Severe Weather and Climate Change

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 the costs we pay to deal with climate change.

Actions Council Must Take

  • expand our tree canopy
  • calculate the cost of climate change
  • implement a plan of action

Expand our Tree Canopy

  • By February 2015:  (1) provide the authority and funds necessary to properly enforce the city’s tree bylaws by end of 2015;  (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.

Calculate the cost of climate change

  • 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,” so that we can better understand how investing now will save us lots more in the future.

Implement a Plan of Action 

  • 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.

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.

From TEA's Green Action Agenda