At the last City Council meeting of 2016, Councillors quietly adopted a new climate action plan for our city. This important plan outlines the short-term strategies for achieving an emissions reduction target of 30% by 2020. However, without any new funds to support the action plan we are unlikely to meet our targets.
When the TransformTO report was first considered by the Parks and Environment Committee, TEA was on hand to make it clear that we need adequate funding to ensure the success of this plan. Upon TEA’s request, the Committee asked for business cases to be developed for the 2020 climate strategies that demonstrate how much ‘bang for buck’ Toronto can gain from investing roughly $23 million.
Staff reported back to City Council in December outlining the business cases. They also made it clear that an initial investmentment of $1.6 million was necessary in 2017 to ensure that crucial actions could take place. With encouragement from TEA, Councillor Layton put forward a motion asking the Budget Committee to consider finding funds for the plan in the budget process. While the motion was supported by a majority of Council, the Mayor voted against it.
The vote now lies with the Budget Committee. The committee is now looking for public input on the 2017 budget. This is our opportunity to send a clear message that funding the climate action plan is a priority.
Our ask is simple - invest $1.6 million in 2017 to get the crucial actions of the climate plan in motion.
It is clear that there is a big financial crunch at City Hall and our programs and services are already suffering a result. All city divisions have already been required to reduce their budgets by 2.6% for 2017. And yet, we are moving forward with refurbishing the Gardiner which will cost our city more than $3 billion!
We need our Councillors to consider the long-term impacts of their decisions.We need to make investments that that will help ensure the health, well-being and resilience of our communities.
You can have your say! We’ve provided simple talking points that can help you make a deputation. You can sign up to make a deputation or submit your comments to the committee by emailing [email protected]
Talking Points for a Deputation:
Invest $1.6 million in 2017 to get the crucial actions of the climate plan in motion
Without this initial investment, it is unlikely Toronto will meet its 2020 GHG targets nor help Canada meet its international obligations.
Without this initial investment, it is likely Torontonians will pay more and more as we continue experiencing the impacts of climate change. Remember, the 2013 flood and ice storm cost all of us over $1.3 billion in insurance claims, overtime and damaged property.
Recount a personal story about how severe weather and/or other climate change has affected you (or your friends and family).
As the staff report to Council made it clear, a $1.6 million investment in 2017 is a sound investment. It will help leverage up to $800 million in private sector investments in climate change actions. Without this investment, it is unlikely this additional money will be leveraged.
Let’s put $1.6 million in context: it’s a rounding error on the Gardiner Expressway refurbishment costs. Surely the City of Toronto, with a budget of over $11 billion can find $1.6 million to help deal with the biggest threat to our economic, health and environmental security.