Green Urban Initiative Toronto .pdf
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Green Urban Initiative – Toronto, Canada
Summary and Criticism
An environmental issue that affects Toronto, Canada is the generation of greenhouse gases (GHG),
which not only affects the city but the world as a whole. As the largest city in Canada with a growing
urban sprawl, population, and businesses, Toronto is the largest single contributor to urban GHG
emissions and thus should be the national leader and role model of green urban initiatives.1
Toronto has an initiative called the Climate Change Action Plan (CCAP) to reduce the city’s GHG
emissions (from 1990 levels) by 6% for 2012, 30% for 2020, and 80% for 2050, among other green goals.2
This will be accomplished by engaging multiple areas that contribute to that goal – neighbourhoods,
businesses, city operations, renewable energy, transportation, and green space. The city will take action by
building partnerships, increasing public awareness, monitoring and reporting emissions, and creating
multi-million dollar funds for program implementation.
As of 2012, the city has reduced its total GHG emissions by 25% compared to its 6% goal, and its cityowned buildings emissions by 49%. These lower emissions are mostly due to decreased emissions from
electricity generation (renewables, reduced use) and solid waste collection and management (landfill gas
capture and use). The landfill gas captured in 2014 alone has produced 80,000 MWh of electricity. Since
2007, Toronto has installed 40 MW worth of renewable energy3 from 35 different installations4, and will
almost triple the number of installations through planned endeavours.
While diverse in its scope, Toronto’s CCAP and its associated implementation reports has multiple areas
it can improve on. The first area of improvement would be monitoring and reporting more specifically on
the levels of specific GHGs, as currently emissions are described in eCO2 (carbon dioxide equivalent).4
While probably analyzed internally and implemented appropriately, the public may wish to be informed of
these levels as different gases come from different sources. Second, the CCAP ignores emissions
occurring outside of Toronto that are driven by the city and its population, such as but not limited GHG
emissions from agriculture, industry, and transportation of goods. Emissions from these sources can be
reduced by, for example, decreasing the consumption of animal products and imported food items,
regulating industrial operations emissions and energy usage, and encouraging the buying and using of
local products, respectively. Including these aspects in the CCAP would aid in reducing their GHG
emissions as resources will be allocated and awareness will be increased.
Greening the Economy: Sustainable Cities; video lectures.
Climate change, clean air and sustainable energy action plan: Moving from framework to action. Phase 1;
Highlights, June 2007.
3 Toronto Environmental Progress Report 2015.
4 City of Toronto Energy Conservation & Demand Management Plan (2014-2019).