Toronto still on track for 2020 climate targets, but rise in emissions shows need to redouble climate action in 2021

For Immediate Release: December 15, 2020

TORONTO - New data shows that Toronto’s annual greenhouse gas emissions grew by seven percent in 2018, making the attainment of the City’s future climate commitments more challenging.

“While it is heartening that the City is still on track to meet its 2020 emission target, this new rise in emissions is concerning,’ said Michael Polanyi, Climate Campaigner at Toronto Environmental Alliance. “This report should be a wake-up call to City leaders that they need to step up climate action in 2021.”

Toronto Mayor John Tory and City Council declared a climate emergency in 2019, committing to achieve net-zero emission by 2050, and by 2040 if possible.

“The delivery of key climate emergency commitments - like a plan for reaching net-zero emissions - has been delayed,” said Polanyi. “Mayor Tory and City Council keep stating that tackling the climate crisis is a top priority and they need to back up their words by supporting stronger climate action in the 2021 City budget. We understand that the COVID pandemic has had a huge impact on the City, and it’s critical that climate measures form a key part of Toronto’s recovery.”

The City’s report states that building emissions rose in part due to a cold winter and an increase in natural gas in Ontario’s electricity grid. Transportation emissions also rose, and the City’s own corporate emissions also went up 13%, despite its commitment in the TransformTO climate plan to lead by example. 

On November 30, 2020, the Toronto Environmental Alliance wrote to Mayor Tory expressing concern about delays in the delivery of the City’s climate emergency declaration commitments. “No other issue threatens to incur a greater impact on human health, well-being and safety, and economic development, if we fail to act now,” said the letter. 

As of 2018, Toronto’s GHG emissions were 16.2 megatonnes (MT), 37 per cent lower than in 1990. Toronto has committed to reducing its emissions to 65% below 1990 levels - or 9 MT - by 2030.

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For information, contact: 

Michael Polanyi

Climate Campaigner, Toronto Environmental Alliance

Email: michael@torontoenvironment.org

Phone: 416-712-6573