News Release
December 11, 2020

Today, the City of Toronto released its 2018 Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Inventory, which tracks Toronto’s progress towards greenhouse gas reduction targets and identifies key emissions sources. The City confirmed it is on track to exceed its 2020 target of a 30 per cent reduction in GHG emissions.


TransformTO is the City’s long-range strategy to reduce GHG emissions to help address climate change. Unanimously adopted by City Council in July 2017, the strategy established an ambitious framework including long-range targets, sectoral goals, and a set of guiding principles to ensure that climate action supports better quality of life for all Torontonians.


In October 2019, City Council unanimously voted to declare a climate emergency, accelerate its efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change, and adopt a stronger emissions target: net zero emissions by 2050, or sooner. The City’s interim GHG reduction targets are 30 per cent by 2020 and 65 per cent by 2030, based on 1990 levels.


2018 GHG Inventory highlights

  • Community-wide GHG emissions were 16.2 megatonnes (MT) eC02 in 2018, which is 37 per cent lower than in 1990. Toronto is on track to exceed its 2020 target of a 30 per cent reduction in GHG emissions.


  • Community-wide emissions increased seven per cent over 2017. The increase was due to two factors: cooler winter temperatures that drove up natural gas usage in buildings by about 10 per cent and a sharp increase in the emissions factor for electricity. In 2018, the province increased its use of carbon intensive natural gas to generate electricity to compensate for a reduction in nuclear power generated electricity, which stemmed from the refurbishment of some nuclear power plants.


  • Buildings – residential, commercial and industrial – were the largest source of emissions in Toronto, accounting for about 55 per cent of total community-wide emissions. Natural gas, the fossil fuel used to heat buildings, continues to be the largest source of emissions community-wide, accounting for approximately 50 per cent of Toronto’s total GHG emissions.


  • Transportation was the second largest source, accounting for 36 per cent of total emissions. Passenger cars, trucks, vans, and buses accounted for approximately 97 per cent of all transportation emissions. Gasoline, the fuel used to power vehicles, accounts for about 30 per cent of Toronto’s total GHG emissions.


  • Waste was the third largest source, accounting for about nine per cent of total emissions. Waste emissions originate from all landfills, open and closed, within and outside the city’s boundary.


Along with TransformTO, major initiatives the City has undertaken to reduce emissions include:


  • The Green Will Initiative, through which major institutional and commercial building portfolio owners work with the City to reduce energy consumptions and emissions from their portfolios. Their portfolios include more than 4,500 buildings spanning more than 300 million square feet of real estate in Toronto.


  • Toronto’s first Electric Vehicle (EV) Strategy was approved by City Council in early 2020. In the fall of 2020, 17 on-street EV chargers were installed in three Toronto neighbourhoods, paving the way for way for a larger-scale roll-out of EV charging infrastructure in Toronto.


  • BetterHomesTO, a multi-partner program that aims to help Toronto homeowners make their homes more energy efficient. Through BHTO, the City offers loans of up to $75,000 to help homeowners cover the cost of energy efficiency improvements.


Like other major cities globally, Toronto releases its emissions inventory on a two-year lag cycle. To ensure the best available data, Toronto waits for Canada’s inventory to be submitted to the United Nations Framework on Climate Change as part of its commitment to the Paris Agreement. Canada’s submission contains detailed province-specific values which are used to calculate Toronto’s emissions.


Toronto must cut community-wide GHG emissions in half in the next 10 years to achieve the City’s 2030 target of a 65 per cent reduction, based on 1990 levels. To reach net zero by 2050 all emissions must be eliminated.


In November 2020, the City of Toronto was recognized as a global leader on environmental action and transparency, achieving a place on the “CDP Cities A List” for the third 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, and opportunities, on climate change, water security and deforestation.


Learn more about the City’s 2018 GHG Emissions Inventory.



“Together, the City of Toronto and its residents, businesses and partners have made great strides in reducing community-wide GHG emissions – but we still have a long way to go. Reaching net zero in the next 30 years will require us to be bold in our thinking and to work together to further transform how we live, build and travel. Addressing climate change will be key to building back better and creating a more healthy, prosperous and resilient Toronto.”
– Mayor John Tory


“Climate change remains a significant threat. While reaching net zero will be challenging, we are committed to transforming our city for the better.”

– Councillor James Pasternak (York Centre) and Chair of Parks and Environment Committee


“We must continue to work together – residents, businesses and all levels of government – to meet the challenge and reach net zero by 2050. Together we can do this.”

– Councillor Jennifer McKelvie (Scarborough-Rouge Park) and the Mayor’s Environment and Resilience Champion


Toronto is home to more than 2.9 million people whose diversity and experiences make this great city Canada’s leading economic engine and one of the world’s most diverse and livable cities. As the fourth largest city in North America, Toronto is a global leader in technology, finance, film, music, culture and innovation, and consistently places at the top of international rankings due to investments championed by its government, residents and businesses. For more information visit the City’s website or follow us on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.

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