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.
Today, City Council voted unanimously to declare a climate emergency and endorse a net zero greenhouse gas emissions target. Full declaration here: https://t.co/wDM2dDsBjZ— John Tory (@JohnTory) October 2, 2019
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.
The climate emergency declaration motion was not my words, not the mayors - they came from climate experts, climate activists and Toronto’s youth. It passed unanimously. We make this commitment today, but we will demonstrate this commitment in days, months and years to come. pic.twitter.com/MwQ22lEGyt— Mike Layton (@m_layton) October 2, 2019
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.
Particularly pleased motion goes beyond declaration to embrace goal of carbon neutrality before 2050. Ready to continue to partner to scale up climate solutions that improve environment and people’s health, create local jobs, boost urban resiliency, & contribute to fair society.— The Atmospheric Fund (@AtmosphericFund) October 2, 2019
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.
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