MEDIA STATEMENT: GTHA Climate Emissions report confirms that Toronto must intensify action to protect people and the climate

November 22, 2023

Toronto – This week’s release of carbon emissions data for the GTHA shows that Toronto is not on track to meet its Net Zero targets.  The City and its partners must take immediate action to course correct now.

On Tuesday, The Atmospheric Fund (TAF) released its Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory for the GTHA for the year 2022. Concerningly, it shows that emissions are going in the wrong direction. Emissions in Toronto increased 7.8% from 2021, with emissions in the GTHA region up 8% year-over-year.

The report underlines the need for the City of Toronto to redouble its efforts to meet both its short-term and long-term TransformTO goals, with the ultimate goal of reaching Net Zero by 2040. In addition, Toronto needs much stronger support from other levels of government to advance climate action. Without deeper action here in Toronto, federal and provincial climate plans will fail.

What the Report says

TAF data shows that emissions in Toronto increased in 2022 as the city began to go back to business-as-usual. Emissions were also higher due to a 26% increase in electricity emissions as the provincial government added more fossil gas into Ontario’s electricity grid.

While a small increase could be expected as a result of the pandemic recovery, the pattern of steady increases since 2020 is concerning, particularly since Toronto’s emissions had largely flatlined before 2020 instead of steadily declining as they should.

“When it comes to greenhouse gas emissions, we cannot go back to business-as-usual,” said How-Sen Chong, Climate Campaigner at the Toronto Environmental Alliance. “All levels of government must take action to put an end to the climate crisis. Toronto’s emissions should be 14% lower in 2022 compared to 2019, when Toronto City Council officially declared a Climate Emergency. With this report, it’s clear that we are not on the right path to Net Zero by 2040.”

What Toronto must do

Mayor Chow and Toronto City Council must take immediate action to uphold their commitment to make Toronto net zero by 2040. Climate action must be a priority in any negotiations for a New Deal for Toronto, ensuring new funding to reverse the trend of rising emissions and build a greener, more equitable city. 

In addition to new funding sources, there are tangible steps Toronto must take right now to advance climate action in the short term. TEA and 28 other civil society organizations recently wrote a letter to Mayor Chow with immediate short-term steps the City can take to advance our climate strategy and move beyond business-as-usual. 

The recommendations in the letter focus on budget investments in key areas of the plan to reduce emissions and advance social equity. It outlines important steps to make the plan a cross-divisional priority with stronger levers for accountability, transparency, and public participation. You can find more details in the joint letter here.

As Toronto begins public consultations on the City’s 2024 budget, we encourage all Torontonians to speak up for the Toronto they want to build. A liveable, healthy, and equitable city is one that protects people from the escalating impacts of climate change by investing in a climate-safe future.

For more information or additional comments, please contact:

Jessica Gordon, Communications Manager

(647) 986-6894

[email protected]

- 30 -