TransformTO 2022 Annual Report: Laying the Foundation for Net Zero

City Council adopted Item 2023.IE3.3 on May 10, 2023, which prepares the City to get to net zero following its plan. This decision is a good first step, and the heavy lifting lies ahead. We present here a summary of the main points of the Item, and our take and actions.

The big picture: Net Zero and Toronto

Summary of the TransformTO 2022 Annual Report

  • 100% of the 30 Plan actions and 97% of the 40 Council directions adopted as part of the Strategy are in progress or completed
  • Several accountability mechanisms are now in place: an Accountability and Management Framework, a Net Zero Climate Leadership Table, and an external 26-member Climate Advisory Group
  • Technical modelling suggests the total financial investment by all sectors (City and other levels of governments, business, citizens) needed to achieve net zero by 2040 is $145 billion over 30 years. This investment includes retrofits of homes and buildings, EV purchases by individuals, and government actions to support a carbon-free provincial electricity grid
  • The City’s 2020 GHG emissions inventory shows 2020 emissions are lower by 43% than in 1990, exceeding the target of 30% reduction. However, much of the reduction in 2020 is attributed to decreased transportation emissions due to COVID-19 travel restrictions

Summary of Recommendations from IE Committee

  • Provide policy for how public consultation documentation and legal filings should refer to TransformTO goals and targets
  • Develop an advocacy approach to identify the investments needed for implementation of TransformTO and work towards a long-term funding model
  • Review options to discourage the installation of new combustion uses of natural gas consistent with the Toronto Green Standard
  • Engage federal counterparts on the development of the Clean Electricity Regulations and Zero-Emission Vehicle sales mandate

Our take and our actions

  • The Report states close to 100% of the actions and directions of the Net Zero Strategy are “in progress or completed”; more granularity on the state of completion is needed to understand the progress relative to timelines of the Strategy
  • The accountability mechanisms put in place are welcome; we will track their progress and efficacy
  • More context is needed on the estimated $145 billion investment needed over the next 30 years for the City to reach net zero, such as how this estimate compares with insurance claims due to storms and floods, and health care expense
  • The follow up recommendations for the City to develop a long-term funding model are essential. The $145 billion investment is both a challenge and an opportunity – it will not be simple to secure the investment, and the investment will provide for a competitive economy
  • We will track Toronto’s community-wide emissions. It is true the City’s emissions have so far met targets of the Strategy, but most of the reductions in emissions since 1990 occurred over 10 years ago, when Ontario reduced its use of coal power plants

For the record: Item 2023.IE3.3

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