News Release
December 15, 2021

Today, City Council adopted an ambitious strategy to reduce community-wide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Toronto to net zero by 2040 – 10 years earlier than initially proposed. Toronto’s net zero by 2040 target is one of the most ambitious in North America.

The Net Zero Strategy triggers new and accelerated implementation actions to drive down community-wide emissions, particularly in the short term, and establishes the trajectory needed to reach net zero by 2040. The Strategy also sets an additional interim GHG emissions reduction target for Toronto: 45 per cent by 2025, from 1990 levels.

With the adoption of the Net Zero Strategy, the City’s GHG reduction targets, from 1990 levels, are:

  • 30 per cent by 2020
  • 45 per cent by 2025
  • 65 per cent by 2030
  • net zero by 2040

Meeting the City’s future GHG reduction targets requires rapid action to scale up existing programs, additional authorities for the City to implement effectively, and significant levels of investment and coordination with other levels of government.

The Strategy identifies actions and targets to be achieved by 2030 in key sectors, including buildings, transportation and waste. Toronto’s community-wide emissions must be cut in half in the next 10 years to meet the 2030 target of a 65 per cent emissions reduction.

To reach its targets, the City will use its influence to regulate, advocate and facilitate transformation in five key areas:

  • Demonstrate carbon accountability locally and globally, by establishing a carbon budget for its own operations and the community as a whole.
  • Accelerate a rapid and significant reduction in natural gas use.
  • Establish performance targets for existing buildings across Toronto.
  • Increase access to low-carbon transportation options, including walking, biking, public transit and electric vehicles.
  • Increase local renewable energy to contribute to a resilient, carbon-free grid.

Toronto is currently on track to achieve its 2020 GHG emissions reduction target of 30 per cent, from 1990 levels. Community-wide emissions have decreased by 38 per cent since 1990, despite a significant growth in population, and while Toronto’s gross domestic product (GDP) continued to rise. Like other major cities globally, the City issues its emissions inventory on a two-year lag cycle, to ensure the best available data. Toronto’s 2020 GHG Inventory will be released in 2022.

The primary sources of GHG emissions in Toronto are homes and buildings (57 per cent), mainly from burning natural gas to heat space and water; transportation (36 per cent), mainly from gasoline used in personal vehicles; and waste (seven per cent), mainly from methane released in landfills.

The City controls only a small portion of Toronto’s community-wide emissions directly – nearly five per cent according to the most recent GHG inventory. Achieving the targets in the Strategy will require additional federal and provincial investment and support, as well as support for Toronto’s residents and businesses.

Key City programs, policies and strategies already in place to reduce emissions from key sources include:

  • The Net Zero Existing Buildings Strategy to significantly reduce the use of fossil fuels in all existing residential, commercial and institutional buildings within the next 30 years. The strategy will see the City implement voluntary performance measures and targets initially, intending to begin the transition to mandatory requirements in 2025.
  • The Net Zero Carbon Plan to reduce emissions from more than 2,500 City-owned buildings (approximately 9.5 million square metres) by at least 80 per cent by 2040.
  • An updated (Version 4) Toronto Green Standard (TGS) continues to raise the bar to all but eliminate the use of natural gas in new buildings. For more than 10 years, the TGS has helped transform the market, resulting in 169,000 tonnes of avoided carbon dioxide emissions annually.
  • The Green Will Initiative sees the City partner with large building portfolio owners across Toronto to accelerate emissions reductions from buildings.
  • The BetterHomesTO and the Home Energy Loan Programs provide resources and support for homeowners, including low-interest loans for home energy retrofits.
  • The TTC has one of the largest fleets of electric buses in North America.
  • The City’s TTC Green Bus program includes a commitment to 50 per cent of its bus fleet being zero emission by 2032.
  • Toronto’s first Electric Vehicle strategy reduces barriers to electric vehicle adoption, with a pilot project with EV charging stations installed in three wards.
  • Through ActiveTO, the City is making space for residents to be active while physically distancing, and is advancing its Cycling Plan to provide opportunities for safe and zero emissions cycling.

The Net Zero Strategy builds on the City’s existing TransformTO climate action strategy, updated technical modelling, international best practices, and public consultations held between 2018 and 2021.

Read more about the TransformTO Net Zero Strategy and Short-term Implementation Plan.


“This Net Zero Strategy represents an important step forward in the good and responsible work we are doing to address climate change as a City government. The window for climate action is narrowing and we intend to move forward quickly to ensure greener buildings, greener vehicles, a greener transit system, and a cleaner, greener city overall. Achieving net zero by 2040 will ensure we can continue to be a prosperous, liveable, and thriving city.”

–  Mayor John Tory

“Toronto’s residents and businesses are looking to the City for leadership in addressing climate change and we are delivering with this accelerated strategy. Reaching net zero emissions will improve the lives of Torontonians by creating a healthier, more active and more resilient city, with new opportunities for jobs and industry.”

– Councillor Jennifer McKelvie (Scarborough-Rouge Park), Chair of Instructure and Environment Committee

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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