toronto climate emergency

Toronto is planning to declare a climate emergency

We already know climate change is a major threat to our society and world as a whole, and we've undoubtedly begun to feel its impacts in Toronto with all the extreme weather we've been having

Many have criticized both local and federal governments for their inaction on the issue, but it looks like Toronto's municipal government has every intention of actually doing something about it. 

Mayor John Tory announced this morning that he intends to join 800 other local governments in 16 countries in declaring a climate emergency. 

The announcement comes as 47 civil society organizations released an open call to Toronto city council to declare a climate emergency and commit to accelerated climate action.

Students all over the world are also protesting today to demand action on climate change.

In a press release from the mayor's office, it says declaring an emergency "would be done with the purpose of naming, framing and deepening Toronto's commitment to protecting our community, our economy, and our ecosystems from climate change."

It says Toronto residents and businesses have begun to struggle with the effects of more frequent flooding and other severe weather events brought on by climate change, and the city's Resilience Strategy found Toronto's weather is getting hotter, wetter and wilder and our climate risks are increasing.

So far, both city councillor Jennifer McKelvie, the mayor's Resilience Champion working to focus the city on achieving its climate change and resilience goals, and councillor Mike Layton, vice-chair of the Toronto Atmospheric Fund, are supportive of the emergency declaration.

Fortunately, this isn't the first step the city has taken to address climate change.

The announcement comes just as the Mayor Tory and members of the city's debenture committee approved Toronto's second green bond.

It's a $200 million bond that will invest in environmental projects including the Port Lands flood protection, energy efficiency retrofits for Toronto community housing buildings, cycling infrastructure, and installing solar panels at city facilities to generate at least five per cent of its energy.

And back in 2017, Toronto City Council approved the TransformTO plan to reach an 80 per cent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 based on 1990 levels. 

Tory says this declaration is only the next step in doing our part to keep global warming at 1.5°C

The declaration of a climate emergency will be considered at the October 2 meeting of city council. 

"Climate change and global warming poses a major risk to our city's residents and businesses," said Tory.

"This emergency declaration serves to join cities across the world in tackling climate change, frame the impact of climate change on our residents and businesses, and enhance Toronto's commitment to a net zero carbon future."

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