TransformTO is Toronto’s ambitious climate action strategy. TransformTO will reduce local greenhouse gas emissions, and improve our health, create jobs, grow our economy, and improve social equity. Everyone will have a part to play in transforming Toronto into a low-carbon city.

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 of Toronto is one of only three big cities in North America with this 2040 target.

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 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.

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. 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

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

According to the latest inventory release (2019), overall emissions have been reduced 38 per cent from 1990 levels, while Toronto’s population and economy continued to grow. Toronto must rapidly decrease its annual emissions to meet future targets.

  • 57 per cent of GHG emissions in Toronto come from homes and buildings, primarily from burning natural gas to heat indoor spaces and water
  • 36 per cent of GHG emissions in Toronto are generated by transportation, with the majority of those emissions attributed to personal vehicles
  • 7 per cent of GHG emissions in Toronto are generated by waste, with landfill emissions being the primary emissions source

Note: Since the previous GHG inventory reports were published, several adjustments to the calculation to account for new emission sources and methodological changes have been made. The latest inventory release (2019) has the most up to date values.

Community-Wide Emissions Reduced 37 per cent from 1990 Levels

The City’s 2018 inventory on community-wide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions – which measures the emissions from energy use in buildings, vehicles, waste and industry – indicates that GHG emissions in Toronto were 37 per cent lower in 2018 than in 1990.

Key findings:

Community-wide GHG emissions were 16.2 million tonnes (MT) carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) 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.

  • 55 per cent of GHG emissions in Toronto come from homes and buildings, primarily from burning natural gas to heat indoor spaces and water
  • 36 per cent of GHG emissions in Toronto are generated by transportation, with the majority generated by personal vehicles
  • 9 per cent of GHG emissions in Toronto are generated by waste

Reporting annually 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 2018 GHG Inventory

Note: Since the previous GHG inventory reports were published, several adjustments to the calculation to account for new emission sources and methodological changes have been made. The latest inventory release (2019) has the most up to date values.

Community-Wide Emissions Reduced 44 per cent from 1990 Levels

The City’s 2017 inventory on community-wide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions – which measures the emissions from energy use in buildings, vehicles, waste and industry – indicates that GHG emissions in Toronto were 44 per cent lower in 2017 than in 1990.

Key findings:

Emissions from all sectors continue to go down, even in the context of economic and population growth.

  • 52 per cent of GHG emissions in Toronto come from homes and buildings, primarily from burning natural gas to heat indoor spaces and water
  • 38 per cent of GHG emissions in Toronto are generated by transportation, with 80 per cent generated by personal vehicles
  • 10 per cent of GHG emissions in Toronto are generated by waste

Reporting annually 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 2017 GHG inventory in the first TransformTO Implementation Update

The targets and actions presented in the TransformTO Net Zero Strategy were developed through extensive consultation across City divisions and agencies, stakeholders and the public. Since 2019, the City has engaged more than 5,000 residents, businesses, and other stakeholders to understand key priorities, opportunities and challenges of delivering on climate action.

Reports and updates on the TransformTO strategy and community engagement.

Since 2019, more than 5,000 Torontonians have provided input on the development of the City’s climate action strategy by participating in events, submitting ideas and completing online surveys.

In the summer of 2021, the City hosted public consultations for the development of the TransformTO Net Zero Strategy. The 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. During the consultation period, more than 1,000 Torontonians and interested parties participated in the consultation process.

Thank you to everyone who participated through these initiatives. Special thanks also to the individuals and community groups who hosted their own TransformTO community discussions.

A report summarizing the 2021 consultation findings is now available here.

Learn how you can get involved.

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.

Please see the TransformTO Net Zero Framework Technical Report for more information.

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; please enter this URL in your browser: https://cis-community.ssg.coop/toronto/emissions.

Stay tuned for ways that you can get involved and share your feedback. To sign up for email updates on TransformTO, please subscribe below.

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