Toronto has given itself an arduous task: becoming net-zero by 2050 or sooner.
But it’s this ambitious goal that has allowed Toronto to be recognized as a global leader on “environmental action and transparency,” placing Canada’s largest city on the “CDP Cities A List” for the second consecutive year.
CDP, an environmental impact non-profit organization, runs the global environmental disclosure system that helps companies, cities and regions measure and manage their risks, as well as opportunities, on climate change, water security and deforestation.
To receive an ‘A’, a city must have established a city-wide emissions inventory, have set an emissions reduction target, have published a climate action plan, and have completed a climate adaptation plan to demonstrate how it will tackle climate hazards.
A total of 105 cities globally received the “A” designation in 2019. Here in Canada, just seven spots made it onto the list, including the City of Vancouver, North Vancouver, Victoria, Calgary, Edmonton, Windsor, and Toronto.
Toronto’s TransformTO climate action strategy, which City Council adopted unanimously in 2017, identifies a series of short- and long-term actions to reduce community-wide greenhouse gas emissions from buildings, transportation, and waste.
Since 2017, Toronto has implemented and expanded several key initiatives, including the launch of neighbourhood climate action grants, the issuance of Toronto’s first Green Bond, the completion of energy retrofits to 21 Toronto Community Housing buildings, the installation of solar panels on 100 city-owned properties, and the adoption of Toronto’s first electric vehicle strategy.
In 2019, city council voted to declare a climate emergency and adopt a stronger emissions reduction target: net-zero by 2050 or sooner.
“Cities are taking the climate crisis more seriously than before. In the space of a year, the number of cities on the A List has grown from 43 in 2018 to 105 in 2019,” reads the report. “Representing a combined global population of 170 million, they are leading the transition to a climate-safe future and setting an example for others to follow.”
Mayor John Tory says this rating is a “testament to the city’s commitment to addressing the climate emergency.”
“With our sights set firmly on reaching net zero by 2050 or sooner, we are innovating, investing, and transitioning Toronto into a healthier, more prosperous and resilient city,” said Tory, adding, “I encourage all cities to work toward achieving net-zero locally.”