Toronto has reduced its emissions in 2016 by 6% compared to the previous year and 33% since 1990, surpassing the city’s 2020 target ahead of schedule.
This is according to a new report from The Atmospheric Fund (TAF) which suggests Toronto’s carbon emissions are continuing to decline and are on the right track to meet its goal of reducing carbon emissions by 80% by 2050.
“When compared to similar cities around the world, this progress highlights Toronto’s climate leadership,” said Julie Leach, TAF’s communications manager.
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The report highlights that while Toronto may have surpassed its 2020 target, it’s partly due to an unseasonably warm winter in 2016, which caused natural gas consumption to be lower than usual for heating buildings.
The report also notes that “one cold winter could tip back the scales,” which is rather disheartening considering how cold this winter has already been so far.
The phasing out of coal-fired electricity carried out by the province was also a key driver in emissions reductions.
“Emissions from electricity declined considerably due to the coal phase-out. Now that this one big measure is complete, the next phase of reduction will require the city and its residents to carry out much wider transformation involving multiple measures,” reads the report.
This means that the 2030 target of 65% reduction will be much more challenging to reach and in order to “continue on the path to progress and avoid dangerous climate change,” the city will need to really start stepping up the pace of actions in the TransformTO plan.
According to TAF, the main source of emissions in 2016 was buildings (45%), transportation (35%) and waste (20%).
“The overall long-term trend shows emissions decreased from buildings and slightly increased from transportation and waste, also comparable to the wider GTHA region and province where all municipalities have benefited from the coal phase-out,” reads the report.
“Toronto is a recognized leader in tackling climate change and we continue to innovate to reduce emissions and improve the quality of life for residents,” said Mayor John Tory, in a statement.
“This latest inventory shows we’re on track. We’ll build on this momentum through the TransformTO Climate Action Strategy to transform how we live, build and travel to meet our long-term targets,” said Tory.