Toronto surpasses 2020 Greenhouse Gas emissions target

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

The City of Toronto released its 2020 sector-based greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions inventory, tracking progress towards its reduction targets in key sectors: buildings, transportation and waste. In 2020, community-wide emissions in Toronto were 43 per cent lower than in 1990, which exceeds the City’s 2020 target of a 30 per cent reduction.

Toronto’s GHG reduction targets are outlined in the accelerated TransformTO Net Zero Strategy adopted by Toronto City Council in December 2021.

Buildings produce 58 per cent of community-wide emissions, an increase of two per cent over 2019. Natural gas, used primarily for space and water heating, is the largest source of building sector emissions, accounting for 54 per cent of all community-wide emissions.

Information about Toronto’s sustainable design and performance requirements for new private and city-owned developments, including how new developments can reduce emissions, and incentives through the Tier 2+ Development Charge Refund Program is available on the City’s Toronto Green Standard webpage.

The interim GHG reduction targets are 45 per cent by 2025 and 65 per cent by 2030, based on 1990 levels.

Highlights from the report:

  • Global emissions plunged by roughly 2.4 billion tonnes in 2020, a seven per cent drop from 2019 and the largest decline on record.
  • In Toronto, this translated to an 11 per cent community-wide GHG emissions reduction from 2019 levels.
  • Emissions in Toronto are expected to approach pre-pandemic levels, erasing some of the gains made in 2020 due to transportation levels during the pandemic.
  • In 2020, Toronto’s community-wide GHG emissions were 14 megatonnes (MT) of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e), which is 43 per cent lower than 1990 levels; Toronto surpassed the 2020 target of a 30 per cent reduction in GHG emissions.
  • City of Toronto 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.

Community-wide emissions must be cut in half over the next seven years to achieve the trajectory needed to reach net zero by 2040.

Like other major cities globally, Toronto releases its Sector-based GHG Emissions Inventory on a two-year lag cycle.

“Council set an ambitious target to reduce emissions to net zero by 2040 and with today’s announcement, we’re on the right track,” said Mayor John Tory. “Tackling this crisis requires ongoing community-wide action, and commitment and investment by all levels of government, and we are committed to working with our partners at every level to make that happen.”

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