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East York people, places, events & insights

East Yorkers showing they do care about climate change

– By Melanie Milanich –

East Yorkers were among the many thousands of people —scientists, researchers, teachers, doctors, parents and citizens— rallying and thronging the streets of downtown Toronto for the March for Science April 22 and the March for Climate Change April 29.

Science tells us that climate change is real, serious, caused primarily by burning of fossil fuels and deforestation, is happening now and faster than predicted.  We know from the daily news that it needs to be urgently addressed to keep the planet habitable in future decades.

This home on Rivercourt Blvd. is well prepared for the energy future. -STAFF

This home on Rivercourt Blvd. is well prepared for the energy future. -STAFF

East York residents have shown their commitment with solar panels, electric and hybrid cars, cycling lanes, recycling, the tool library, tree plantings, green roofs and insulating homes.  Because of these and other measures, as well as a big help from the province’s elimination of coal fired electric plants, Toronto is in line to meet its 2020 target of 30% below 1990 levels.  The city’s short term plan was approved in December 2016.

Yet, businesses, citizens and governments at all levels need to do much more to reduce greenhouse gas levels to keep global temperature rise below 2 degrees Celcius as nations, including Canada, agreed to at the Paris Accord.  Our target is 80% from 1990 levels by 2050.  There is a 8.7 million ton gap between projected emissions and this target for a low-carbon future.

Because of our complacency and procrastination, the effort needed now is far greater than if we had acted twenty or thirty years ago.  TransformTO is the city’s community-wide initiative to engage residents,businesses, organizations and experts in identifying ways to reduce emissions.  It is co-managed by the city’s Parks and Environment Subcommittee on Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation and the Environment and Energy Division and the Toronto Atmospheric Fund.

In May the long term report will go before City Council.  Two webinars in April and early May have been available to better involve citizens.  The webinars present the three new campaigns to move the climate agenda ahead to 2050:
1) Low-carbon neighbourhood scale initiatives;
2) Electrification of transportation; and
3) Development of a workforce with skills for low-carbon thermal energy, high performance buildings.

The long-term strategy report needs the support of East Yorkers to see that it is approved and implemented.  Visit www. toronto.ca/transformto to see how you can help.

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