City of Toronto officially declares climate emergency

Oct 2 2019, 1:24 pm

Toronto city councillors voted unanimously to declare a climate emergency and endorse a net-zero greenhouse gas emissions target on Wednesday.

The declaration was made for the purpose of “naming, framing, and deepening” the city’s commitment to protecting the economy, ecosystems, and community from climate change, according to the city.

“This emergency declaration serves to join cities across the world in tackling climate change, frame the impact of climate change on our residents and businesses, and enhance Toronto’s commitment to a net-zero carbon future,” said Mayor John Tory when the declaration was initially announced.

According to the motion, the city’s net-zero greenhouse gas emissions target is in line with keeping the global average temperature rise below 1.5ºC, immediately strengthening Toronto’s goal of becoming net-zero before 2050.

The commitments in the declaration include:

  • Looking for opportunities to invest in and accelerate high priority emission reduction areas in TransformTO, such as building retrofits and transportation, as part of the 2020 Budget.
  • Exploring all viable and equitable financing mechanisms to adequately finance and encourage climate actions and adaptation in the 2021 Budget cycle.
  • Accelerating the implementation of TransformTO climate actions at every opportunity.
  • Engaging job-seekers, workers, unions, relevant sectors, and social service agencies in the creation of a low-carbon jobs strategy that supports a decent work agenda, career pathways for equity-seeking groups, and the expansion of green industry sectors across Toronto.

Toronto joins more than 800 local governments in 16 countries around the world in acknowledging the scale of the climate crisis, including Amsterdam, Auckland, Barcelona, London, Los Angeles, Montréal, New York City, Paris, San Francisco, Sydney, and Vancouver.

This announcement comes after thousands of people gathered downtown last Friday, to join cities around the world for the global climate strike.