Toronto's Targets

Do you remember this? it was a result of the ice storm in Toronto in 2013. The heat wave in 2016? we can expect more frequent climate change events in the future.

Toronto's emissions reduction targets are documented in the TransformTO plan (pdf):

  • 30 % by 2020
  • 80 % by 2050

In May 2017, an updated version of the TransformTO plan was approved by the Parks and Environment Committee but has yet to be approved by City Council. This plan added an interim target of 65% by 2030.

Toronto's share of the global population is 0.03%. Therefore, as of 2017, our share of the global carbon budget is approximately 250 MtCO2e if we want to do our bit to prevent global temperatures from increasing by more than 2oC. (As of 2018 we will have exceeded our population-based share of the global carbon budget for remaining under 1.5oC so there is no point in aiming for that.) As of 2017, our remaining emissions-based shares are 99 MtCO2e for a likely chance of remaining around 1.5oC and 463 MtCO2e for remaining below 2oC.

The following chart compares the TransformTO targets with the targets needed to keep below Toronto's cumulative emission limits for keeping global temperature increases of 1.5oC or less than 2oC.

Population-based emission reduction targets
 

The lines on this chart represent various emission reduction targets:

  • The red line - the proposed targets in the TransformTO # 2 report (30% by 2020, 65% by 2030 and 80% by 2050)
  • The blue line - the targets for keeping temperature increases below 2 degrees if we start in 2020
  • The green line - what our targets should be to keep global temperature increases close to 1.5 degrees
  • The yellow line - Toronto's actual emissions between 1990 and 2013

The population-based targets are more ambitious than the proposed TransformTO plan targets (red line). It would be possible to meet the limit for 2oC by approximately 2038 if the recommended targets (blue) were met.

The population-based emission reduction targets for 1.5oC or below 2oC are in this table (percentages are those below 1990 annual emissions of 27.05 MtCO2e)

Year
TransformTO targets
Targets for 1.5oC (starting in 2017)
Targets for less than 2oC (starting in 2020)
2020
30% - 19 MtCO2e
100% (by 2019)
38% - 17 MtCO2e
2030
65% - 9 Mt CO2e *
 
65% - 9 MtCO2e
2040
 
 
100% (by 2039) 
2050
80% - 5 MtCO2e
 
 

 

* the 65% target is a a proposed target in the most recent TransformTO plan. It has not been approved by City Council (as of June 2017).

How many years of our remaining budgets (from 2017) will Toronto have if we continue emitting at our current rate of approximately 20 MtCO2e/year?

  • 1 year for global temperature increases of 1.5oC
  • 12 years for global temperature increases of less than 2oC

Click here to view the differences between population-based and emissions-based limits.

Footnotes

Population-based share is based on Toronto's share of the global population (0.03%).

Emissions-based share is based on Toronto's share of global emissions (0.05%)

randomness