Toronto City Council has 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. The City’s 2040 target is one of the most ambitious in North America. Learn more, below.

The City has created a new Climate Advisory Group to provide advice, facilitate ongoing communication and guide the effective and equitable implementation of Toronto’s climate strategy, the TransformTO Net Zero Strategy.

The purposes of the Climate Advisory Group (CAG) are to:

  • enable advice and peer review from Toronto’s diverse community to inform community-wide implementation of the TransformTO Net Zero Strategy and the Short-term Implementation Plans;
  • ensure ongoing two-way information sharing and collaboration between the City and external parties; and
  • help mobilize all sectors and communities to move toward our shared goal of a zero carbon, healthy, equitable, prosperous and resilient Toronto.

The CAG has 26 members, both individuals and representatives from organizations, who were selected for a 3-year term to act as advisors, champions and reviewers of the policies, programs and initiatives under development for implementing the TransformTO Net Zero Strategy.

Climate Advisory Group meeting materials will be shared online as available.

Draft Terms of Reference for the Climate Advisory Group

City of Toronto Climate Advisory Group Members

Member Role Organization
Lyn Adamson Co-Founder ClimateFast
Andria Babbington President Toronto and York Region Labour Council
Chris Ballard CEO Passive House Canada
Sarah Buchanan Campaigns Director Toronto Environmental Alliance (TEA)
Maggie Chang
Christian Cianfrone Director, Decarbonization Ellis Don
Maria Constantinou
Kristen Evers Green Projects Team Leader Toronto District School Board (TDSB)
Lidia Ferreira Community Engagement Specialist Community Resilience to Extreme Weather (CREW)
Barnabe Geis Executive Director Climate Ventures/Foresight Canada
Colin Guldimann
Darnel Harris Executive Director Our Greenway
Tinashe Kanengoni
Julius Lindsay Director, Sustainability David Suzuki Foundation
Neil MacNeil Director, Toronto Region Operations Enbridge Gas Inc.
Derek May Director, Transportation Pollution Probe
Joyce McLean
Joseph Ogilvie
Rosemarie Powell Executive Director Toronto Community Benefits Network
Zamani Ra
Jeff Ranson Sr. Director, Energy, Environment & Advocacy BOMA Toronto
John Robinson
Alienor Rougeot Co-Founder Fridays for Future
Craig Ruttan Senior Director, Policy Toronto Region Board of Trade
Marine Sanchez Passive House Buildings Lead RDH Building Science
Jack Zhou Partner A&J Energy Consultants

 

Toronto City Council has 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. The City’s 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.

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 will require 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. (More information on the targets is available in the 2030 Goals by Sector tab, below.) 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.

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. For more information, please see the Greenhouse Gas Inventory tabs below.

Everyone can play a role in reducing Toronto’s greenhouse gas emissions. Learn more.

TransformTO Net Zero Strategy

TransformTO – Critical Steps for Net Zero by 2040 (staff report)

TransformTO Net Zero Framework Technical Report (Parts 1 & 2)

TransformTO Net Zero Framework Technical Report (Part 3)

To ensure that Toronto is on track to reach net zero by 2040, the following 2030 goals have been established.

Homes & Buildings

  • All new homes and buildings will be designed and built to be near zero greenhouse gas emissions
  • Greenhouse gas emissions from existing buildings will be cut in half, from 2008 levels

Energy

  • 50 per cent of community-wide energy comes from renewable or low-carbon sources
  • 25 per cent of commercial and industrial floor area is connected to low carbon thermal energy sources

Transportation

  • 30 per cent of registered vehicles in Toronto are electric
  • 75 per cent of school/work trips under 5km are walked, biked or by transit

Waste

  • 70 per cent residential waste diversion from the City of Toronto’s waste management system
  • Identify pathways to more sustainable consumption in City of Toronto operations and in Toronto’s economy

City of Toronto Corporate Goals

  • City of Toronto corporate greenhouse gas emissions are reduced by 65 per cent over 2008 base year
  • All City Agency, Corporation and Division-owned new developments are designed and constructed to applicable Toronto Green Standard Version 4 standard achieving zero carbon emissions, beginning in 2022
  • Greenhouse gas emissions from City-owned buildings are reduced by 60 per cent from 2008 levels; by 2040, City-owned buildings reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions
  • All City-owned facilities have achieved zero waste
  • Generate and utilize 1.5 Million Gigajoules of energy from biogas
  • Approximately 107,700 tonnes CO2e per year are reduced through Organics Processing with Renewable Energy and Landfill Gas Utilization
  • 50 per cent of the City-owned fleet is transitioned to zero-emissions vehicles
  • 50 per cent of the TTC bus fleet is zero-emissions
  • Greenhouse gas emissions from food the City of Toronto procures are reduced by 25 per cent

In July 2017, Toronto’s TransformTO climate action strategy was unanimously approved by City Council. It includes a set of long-term, low-carbon goals and strategies to reduce local greenhouse gas emissions and improve our health, grow our economy, and improve social equity. The Net Zero Strategy adopted by Council in December 2021 builds on the initial TransformTO Strategy.

On October 2, 2019, City Council voted unanimously to declare a climate emergency and accelerate efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change, adopting a stronger emissions reduction target of net zero by 2050 or sooner. In response, the City has developed the TransformTO Net Zero Strategy, which outlines a pathway to achieve net zero emissions community-wide by 2040.

GHG emissions in Toronto were 38 per cent lower in 2019 than in 1990, which means that Toronto is on track to meet its 2020 GHG reduction target of 30 percent. Learn more about Toronto’s 2019 greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory.

Achieving the targets set out in TransformTO will require transformational changes in how we live, work, build and commute. Learn about how we can #TransformTO Together.

Implementation of the TransformTO Net Zero Strategy will be aligned with several existing City plans and strategies that also contribute to greenhouse gas reductions across a number of sectors, including:

Buildings

Transportation

Waste

Natural Systems

In 2020, Toronto surpassed its emissions target, but more aggressive climate action is needed to meet future targets.

The City’s 2020 Sector-based Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory of community-wide GHG emissions – which tracks and identifies direct and indirect GHG emissions from three dominant sectors: buildings, transportation, and waste – indicates that Toronto’s GHG emissions were 43 per cent lower in 2020 than in 1990.

Toronto’s future sector-based GHG reduction targets are: 45 per cent by 2025, 65 per cent by 2030, and net zero by 2040.

 2020 Key Findings:

  • In 2020, Toronto’s community-wide GHG emissions were 14 megatonnes (MT) equivalent of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e), which is 43 per cent lower than in 1990. Community-wide emissions decreased by nearly 13 per cent compared to 2019 when Toronto emitted 16 MT CO2e. Decreased transportation activities were the main contributor to the city’s emissions reduction, as many Toronto residents were required to either work or learn from home.

• Bar chart depicting Toronto’s year-over-year community-wide sector-based GHG emissions in key sectors from 1990 to 2020. Over this period, buildings sector emissions declined from 13.2 to 8.2 MT CO2e, transportation sector emissions declined from 7.3 to 4.6 MT CO2e, and waste sector emissions declined from 4.2 to 1.2 MT CO2e.

  • Global GHG emissions plunged by roughly 2.4 billion tonnes in 2020, a seven per cent drop from 2019 and the largest decline on record, triggered by worldwide COVID-19 restrictions.¹ In Toronto, this translated to an 13 per cent community-wide GHG emissions reduction from 2019 levels. The transportation sector saw the most dramatic decrease in emissions in Toronto, decreasing by about one-fifth from 2019 to 2020. As COVID-19 economic recovery efforts gain momentum, GHG emissions are expected to approach pre-pandemic levels in subsequent years.
  • Toronto surpassed its 2020 target of a 30 per cent reduction in GHG emissions from a 1990 baseline. However, 2020 was an anomaly year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions put in place to reduce virus spread; emissions are expected to approach pre-pandemic levels in subsequent years. Continued ambitious climate actions and programs will be critical to reaching the City’s 2025 target of 45 per cent GHG emissions reduction from 1990 levels. Further, these efforts must be scaled up to reach Toronto’s future targets of a 65 per cent reduction by 2030 and net zero by 2040.

• Pie chart showing Toronto's community-wide sector-based GHG emissions by sector (2020). Buildings account for 58 per cent of community-wide emissions, transportation 33 per cent, and waste nine per cent.

  • Buildings sector emissions were the primary source of GHG emissions in Toronto, totalling 58 per cent of community-wide emissions. This is an increase of two per cent over 2019. Natural gas, used mostly for space and water heating, continued to be the largest source of buildings sector emissions in Toronto, accounting for 54 per cent of community-wide emissions.
  • Transportation sector emissions were the second largest source of GHG emissions in Toronto, totalling 33 per cent of community-wide emissions (a small decrease from 35 per cent in 2019). These emissions were mostly attributable to gasoline used in passenger cars and trucks, which accounted for 25 per cent of community-wide emissions.
  • Waste sector emissions, primarily from landfills, comprised roughly nine per cent of community-wide emissions.
  • The City of Toronto’s corporate emissions, or local government emissions, decreased by roughly 15 per cent compared to 2019 and continued to account for about five per cent of community-wide emissions.

 

[1] https://www.cnbc.com/2020/12/11/covid-record-drop-global-carbon-emissions-2020.html

Reporting annually on community-wide greenhouse gas emissions is part of the City’s commitment to address climate change and inform the development of its climate strategy and policy. Read more about the 2020 Sector-based Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory.

The City follows the Greenhouse Gas Protocol for its sector-based GHG emission inventories.

Toronto’s “A List” Score on GHG Accounting and Action Reporting

As a Global Covenant of Mayors signatory, the City of Toronto has been disclosing its GHG emissions inventory and its climate mitigation and adaptation actions annually to the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) in order to share Toronto’s progress and benchmark against other cities facing similar challenges.

For the fourth year in a row, the City of Toronto is recognized on the 2022 Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) Cities “A” List for its leadership and transparency on climate action. Toronto was one of 122 cities globally to receive an “A” rating.

Previous Sector-based Inventories

Please note this page was updated on January 10, 2023 to accurately reflect:

  • “a 13 per cent community-wide GHG emissions reduction from 2019 levels” in Toronto. This had been incorrectly listed on the website and PDF report as 11 per cent previously.
  • “about 0.03 MT, originated from organics, yard waste, and wastewater treatment processes.” This had been incorrectly listed on the PDF report (p. 16) as 0.30 MT previously.

The targets and actions presented in the TransformTO Net Zero Strategy were developed through extensive research and consultation across City divisions and agencies, stakeholders and the public.

Review reports and updates on the TransformTO strategy and community engagement.

The City hosted public consultations for the development of the TransformTO Net Zero Strategy between late June and early August, 2021. The online consultation program consisted of a Community Discussion Guide, a Net Zero Strategy and Climate Actions Backgrounder, an explainer video, an online survey and an online ideas board. View the consultation report at the link below.

From August 2015 to July 2016, the first phase of TransformTO engagement encouraged residents to contribute their ideas for a low-carbon Toronto in 2050. More than 2,000 residents identified ideas and actions.

The City is exploring collaborative approaches to involve Indigenous Traditional Knowledges (ITK) and Indigenous communities in designing and delivering climate action in Toronto. The City partnered with Indigenous Climate Action (ICA) to design, host, and report on the outcomes of a workshop with Indigenous communities on urban climate action. The following report summarizes the learnings from the workshop.

This report created through the USDN Building Diversity Fellowship, offers recommendations on how best to engage marginalized and equity-seeking groups in developing climate action plans and designing and implementing climate solutions.

Reports on the City’s ongoing community engagement efforts:

In 2020, the City conducted a second round of technical modelling on climate actions in key sectors – buildings, energy, transportation, waste, and natural systems. This process assessed the feasibility of implementing the climate actions that have informed the 2030 targets presented in the Net Zero Strategy.

CityInSight is a data visualization tool for the City’s TransformTO Net Zero Strategy. Toronto’s greenhouse gas technical modelling results dashboard can be viewed on the Sustainability Solutions Group website.

Urgent action is needed to address the climate emergency and everyone can play a part. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions will require big changes in how we live, work, build, travel and more.

Learn what you can do and access City programs and supports available to help you get started. Visit LetsTransformTO.ca to find more climate action community organizations near you and take action together.

TransformTO Net Zero Strategy wins award

On May 2, 2022, the City’s TransformTO Net Zero Strategy won the Environment, Climate and Energy Award at the 9th annual American Planning Association Awards for Excellence in Sustainability. The award honours a plan or project that addresses current and future needs related to climate change mitigation or adaptation, energy or water efficiency, renewable or alternative energy, green jobs, air quality, green infrastructure, or other efforts related to environment, climate, and energy planning. The City’s Strategy achieved a nearly perfect score. Learn more.

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