climate emergency toronto

Toronto just officially declared a climate emergency

Almost two weeks ago, Toronto Mayor John Tory announced his intention to declare a climate emergency after 47 civil society organizations released an open call for him to do so and commit to accelerated climate action.

Today, city council voted unanimously to make the declaration. 

When Tory made the initial announcement, he said the declaration "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."

The effects of climate change in Toronto are already prevalent.

In the past year alone we've experienced extreme weather conditions including a freezing winter, flooding, rising water levels and extreme heat. 

Now, Toronto's municipal government is stepping up and doing something about it. 

On top of the declaration of emergency, council also voted to endorse a net zero greenhouse gas emissions target before 2050. 

According to a special report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released last year, in order to avoid further irreversible damage to the planet and to limit global warming to 1.5°C, we must attain net zero global CO2 emissions by 2050. 

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. 

But the new endorsement acknowledges the need to act even faster. 

The motion presented and approved at city council today also includes a proposal for a climate budget, among other things. 

And not only was every city councillor on board with the motion as a whole, but climate change organizations also seem to be impressed with the move. 

Last week's climate strike made evident that Toronto residents care about climate change and want action from the people in power, and today's decision (hopefully) means our leaders are on board. 

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez


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