Tory off to Paris to put Toronto back in climate fight - The Star

"We have to restore our position of leadership both in the country and internationally," on climate change, mayor says.

By David Rider

The Star, Nov 26th 2015

Mayor John Tory is heading to Paris, along with other big-city mayors, to a conference that parallels the world climate change summit.

Toronto Mayor John Tory and Councillor Pam McConnell are Paris-bound next week to brainstorm with international mayors and officials on ways to fight climate change.

“We have to restore our position of leadership, both in the country and internationally,” in the fight against global warming, Tory said in an interview Thursday at city hall.

“The notion that this is such a secondary thing that it doesn’t matter, or that it’s such a big problem we should throw our hands up and say, ‘There’s nothing we can do about it,’ is an abdication of leadership.

“You do whatever you can that’s practical and sensible to preserve the environment, conserve energy, and in doing so save money.”

Arriving early Thursday, they will join international mayors including Montreal’s Denis Coderre and Vancouver’s Gregor Robertson at the conference.

The UN is hosting the event in conjunction with the climate change summit bringing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, U.S. President Barack Obama and more than 100 other world leaders to Paris.

Tory said he plans to huddle with Coderre and Robertson to strategize on how to advise the Liberal government to best deliver its pledge to double federal infrastructure spending to up to $10 billion in each of the next three years.

Tory wants a “two-for-one deal” that funds municipal transit construction — getting more people out of cars — “on such a timetable that you get environmental objectives achieved as soon as you can.”

He also hopes to learn about New York City’s ambitious green retrofits of social housing, Stockholm’s anti-gridlock efforts and Montreal’s charging stations being installed for on-street parking spots. Tory said he would like to make it practical to convert the City of Toronto’s fleet to electric vehicles.

The mayor also hopes to meet with Mike Bloomberg, the former New York mayor and current UN special envoy for cities and climate change, and will represent Toronto at the C40 Cities Awards.

Among the finalists is Toronto Atmospheric Fund. Started in 1991 with $23 million from an asset sale, it has now invested more than $60 million in projects that cut pollution and greenhouse gas production.

Tory noted that Toronto was once an international leader in efforts to halt environmental change that costs the city and residents through such things as flooding caused by more frequent major storms.

The pause during the Rob Ford mayoralty is over and — renewed as a C40 member — Toronto is joining Trudeau and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, who will also be in Paris, in the fight, he said.

Tory also plans to visit the site of the Bataclan massacre to pay his respects, on behalf of Torontonians, to the victims of the recent Paris attacks.

As well as McConnell, who is Tory’s deputy mayor for “south” Toronto, the contingent will include the city’s director of environment and energy and the mayor’s chief of staff. C40 is paying expenses for the trip, slated to end a week from Saturday.

The Toronto Environmental Alliance is sending Tory a letter urging him to: encourage mayors to commit to 100 per cent renewables by 2050; promote a worldwide media campaign highlighting the benefits of a low-carbon economy; and embed “carbon accounting” in every government decision.

See the original article at:

See TEA's letter to John Tory: