Item - 2024.IE12.3

Tracking Status

IE12.3 - Toronto's Climate Change Readiness: Updates on commitments and a refreshed mandate for coordinating resilience activities

Consideration Type:
ACTION
Wards:
All
Attention
A communication has been submitted on this Item.

Committee Recommendations

The Infrastructure and Environment Committee recommends that:

 

1. City Council receive the Annual TransformTO Net Zero Progress and Accountability Report, in Attachment 1 and its related attachments to the report (March 13, 2024) from the Executive Director, Environment and Climate Division, for information.

 

2. City Council confirm support for a renewed focus and coordinated approach on climate resilience at the City of Toronto.

 

3. City Council direct the Executive Director, Environment and Climate Division in collaboration with all City Divisions, Agencies, Boards, and Corporations to report back to the Infrastructure and Environment Committee in the fourth quarter of 2025 with the following:

 

a. an update on Division, Agencies and Corporations' current activities and future plans where current and future climate conditions are included in their respective infrastructure, operational, policy, and program planning;

 

b. a refreshed governance approach that integrates climate resilience into decision-making and co-ordination across the services, assets, and communities of the City of Toronto, that builds upon the climate-specific learnings from the City's 2019 Resilience Strategy;

 

c. a list of climate resilience priorities and recommended next steps based on technical analysis of climate risk that incorporate insights from engagement with internal and external partners; and

 

d. a discussion of how Indigenous worldviews and relationships with Indigenous communities have been prioritized in climate resilience planning to date.

 

4. City Council Direct the Executive Director, Environment and Climate, and the Executive Director, Corporate Real Estate Management, in collaboration with other Divisions, Agencies, Boards and Corporations of the City of Toronto, to include in the TransformTO Net Zero Implementation Strategy for 2026-2030 a timeline, the resources for, and process for, phasing out the use of fossil gas in all new and existing City-owned facilities by 2040.

 

5. City Council request that the General Manager, Transportation Services, in consultation with the Toronto Transit Commission, to report back to the Infrastructure and Environment Committee by the fourth quarter of 2024 on opportunities to improve the speed and reliability of surface transit by reducing hours for on-street parking in the vicinity of construction-related lane restrictions.

 

6. City Council request the Executive Director, Environment and Climate, to report back on existing resources and potential City measures to support residential homeowners in pursuing energy efficient and net zero renovations, as part of reporting on the development of emissions performance standards for existing buildings in the fourth quarter of 2024.

Summary

This report offers a comprehensive update on climate change. It highlights the progress made in mitigating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions towards achieving net-zero emissions by 2040 (with full details in the attached Annual TransformTO Net Zero Progress and Accountability Report) and proposes a renewed focus and coordinated approach to building resilience to a changing climate within the City of Toronto.

 

Impacts of the changing climate

 

Toronto is experiencing weather that is hotter, wetter, and wilder, and these conditions are expected to worsen. The number of days per year with temperatures above 30°Celsius (extreme heat days) has already increased from an average of 8 days in the 1950s to about 18 days per year now. Data suggests that if global emissions remain on their current path this could increase to 29 days by the 2030s (2021-2050), and 54 days by the 2060s (2051-2080)1. As well, data suggests that by 2080 Toronto will experience an increase in annual precipitation of 19 percent, and extreme rainstorms with 30 percent more rainfall than the historical baseline (1971-2000), which are expected to lead to flooding and associated infrastructure damage, injuries, habitat degradation, degraded water quality, soil erosion and disruptions to services and the economy.

 

Over the past year, extreme heat, wildfire, flooding, and storm events in Toronto, across Canada, and globally further illustrated how harmful and costly these events can be to residents and the assets and services that support them. The impacts of climate change also amplify existing socio-economic vulnerabilities and inequities, unfairly affecting people who already have challenges coping.

 

The City's focus to date has been to do its share to respond to a global call to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and avoid harmful temperature rise. A second but no less important stream of City responsibility is to steadily build Toronto's resilience and readiness at a local level to respond to the day-to-day exposure of Torontonians living in an increasingly unpredictable climate.

 

Progress towards achieving net zero emissions

 

The City's efforts to mitigate climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions are detailed in Attachment 1: Annual TransformTO Net Zero Progress and Accountability Report. This new annual report format offers a comprehensive and accessible view of City-led Greenhouse Gas reduction actions, highlighting the progress midway through the City's first Short-Term Implementation Plan (2022-2026) with respect to the critical steps needed to achieve net zero.

 

The City is leading at the cutting - edge of work to reduce emissions in Toronto. Key highlights include:

 

- The Toronto Green Standard which is helping new developments reduce emissions by 15,000 to CO2e per year,

- City-led work to develop Emission Performance Standards for existing buildings that will help align business and household decisions with a transition to technologies like heat pumps that run on clean electricity, and

- Greening the Corporate fleet with emissions on pace for the 45 percent emission reduction target by 2025 and TTC planning for a zero-emissions bus fleet by 2037 – three years ahead of schedule.

 

Additionally, a summation of Toronto's 2024 budget commitments shows that while Toronto’s actions are making a positive difference, the goal of net zero emissions by 2040 is at risk unless the City, other levels of government, residents and businesses support and invest in transformative actions that meet the scope and scale of the climate challenge.

 

The report also highlights how the City can tackle the biggest source of Greenhouse Gas emissions – fossil (natural) gas for heating buildings – by moving forward with Emission Performance Standards for every building in Toronto which will be outlined in further detail later in 2024. Additional opportunities to accelerate progress will be presented in Toronto's next 2026 - 2030 Net Zero Strategy Short-term Implementation Plan, due in 2025.

 

Full details on progress implementing the Net Zero Strategy and new Carbon Accountability measures can be found in the attachments to this report.

 

Increasing Readiness for Climate Change

 

As the climate changes, Toronto strives to remain a livable and vibrant City for all. While many divisions are already doing important work to reduce risks from climate change, the potential for climate change to negatively affect the City and its residents is clear.

 

The City of Toronto does not currently have a Council-adopted climate resilience or adaptation plan; however, consistent with recommendations from the Resilience Strategy, Environment and Climate is restarting city - wide discussions on resilience by establishing a new role to coordinate climate resilience planning and action in a unified way, city-wide, starting with proposing a refreshed governance approach.

 

In 2022-2023, a new team was established within Environment and Climate to specifically support climate resilience. During Fall 2023, Environment and Climate led inter-divisional discussions and workshops with 21 divisions and agencies to identify the current status of climate resilience work across the city and map out priorities for addressing climate risks now and in the future.

 

An outcome of this work identified the benefit of establishing centralized, refreshed guidance on climate resilience that builds on past work, incorporates up-to-date information, aligns us with peer cities, and protects vulnerable people. Four priority areas for action surfaced: (i) clear direction to address climate resilience as a priority (ii) an approach that will prioritize Indigenous worldviews, relational views of land protection and Indigenous community leadership to enhance climate resilience, (iii) more access to evidence, information, expertise, and advice to guide the City's priorities and actions, and (iv) development of a clear framework, mandate and objectives for addressing climate impacts at a City-wide level.

 

It should be noted however, that while Environment and Climate is well - positioned to coordinate and support climate resilience city - wide, each division, agency and corporation will need to play a leadership role to integrate climate considerations into their own policies, programs, and activities.

 

As part of this work, Environment and Climate will be collecting and analysing local evidence and data which is fundamental to the work of collective and divisional resilience planning. A climate risk and vulnerability assessment will meet this need, generating updated, local, future climate projections for the City and identifying the people, assets, and services, including natural systems, that are most vulnerable to climate impacts. This additional work scope, which will conclude in early 2025, will help prioritize potential adaptation actions and support recommendations for how to best minimize impacts to residents, many of whom are already disproportionately impacted by climate change.

 

To clarify the financial risks facing Toronto from climate change and provide context to the costs of adaptation, the City is partnering with the new Ontario Resource Centre for Climate Adaptation (ORCCA) to estimate the cost of inaction. In 2020, Toronto reported that four rainstorm, ice storm, and high lake / windstorm events directly cost the City a combined $228 million dollars between 2005-2017 while a recent study done in Ontario estimated that a proactive adaptation approach would save $1.1 billion dollars per year in climate costs by the end of the century, compared with paying for the damage inflicted by those same impacts retrospectively.

 

A detailed evaluation of our progress to net zero by 2040 and a renewed focus on coordinating climate resilience activities that builds on data about future climate, risks, and costs will together shape critical actions and next steps that will prepare our city government, our economy, our ecosystems, our communities, and our residents for a changing climate.

Background Information (Committee)

(March 13, 2024) Report from the Executive Director, Environment and Climate Division on Toronto's Climate Change Readiness: Updates on commitments and a refreshed mandate for coordinating resilience activities
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2024/ie/bgrd/backgroundfile-244181.pdf
Attachment 1 - Annual TransformTO Net Zero Progress and Accountability Report
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2024/ie/bgrd/backgroundfile-244190.pdf
Attachment 2 - Appendix 1.1 Summary of implementation progress to date for the Short- term Implementation Plan 2022-2025 of the TransformTO Net Zero Strategy
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2024/ie/bgrd/backgroundfile-244191.pdf
Attachment 3 - Appendix 1.2 Summary of implementation progress to date on responding to City Council directions on the TransformTO Net Zero Strategy
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2024/ie/bgrd/backgroundfile-244192.pdf
Attachment 4 - Appendix 1.3 GHG Reduction Actions in 2024 Budget
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2024/ie/bgrd/backgroundfile-244193.pdf

Speakers

How-Sen Chong, Toronto Environmental Alliance
Anushen Selvasegar
Zouahl Kayoumi, Saint James Town Climate Action Crew
Lyn Adamson, ClimateFast
Priyan de Silva
Michael Longfield, Cycle Toronto
Anne Keary
Don Booth

Communications (Committee)

(March 21, 2024) E-mail from Piotr Sepski (IE.Supp)
(March 26, 2024) Letter from Alison Stewart, Director, Advocacy and Public Policy, Cycle Toronto (IE.Supp)
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2024/ie/comm/communicationfile-178275.pdf
(March 26, 2024) Letter from Elizabeth Antczak M.Arch, CELOS researcher (IE.Supp)
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2024/ie/comm/communicationfile-178276.pdf
(March 26, 2024) E-mail from Chris Chopik, Director, Resilient Homes Canada (IE.Supp)
(March 26, 2024) Letter from How-Sen Chong, Climate Campaigner and Sarah Buchanan, Campaigns Director, Toronto Environmental Alliance (IE.Supp)
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2024/ie/comm/communicationfile-178296.pdf
(March 26, 2024) E-mail from John Paul Morgan, President and Chief Technology Officer, Morgan Solar Inc. (IE.Supp)
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2024/ie/comm/communicationfile-178300.pdf
(March 27, 2024) Letter from Don Booth (IE.Supp)
(March 27, 2024) Letter from Lyn Adamson, Co-Chair, ClimateFast (IE.Supp)
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2024/ie/comm/communicationfile-178309.pdf
(March 27, 2024) E-mail from Chris Keating, Gasbusters Toronto (IE.Supp)
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2024/ie/comm/communicationfile-178558.pdf

Communications (City Council)

(March 27, 2024) E-mail from Harold B. Smith (CC.Main)

IE12.3 - Toronto's Climate Change Readiness: Updates on commitments and a refreshed mandate for coordinating resilience activities

Decision Type:
ACTION
Status:
Amended
Wards:
All

Committee Recommendations

The Infrastructure and Environment Committee recommends that:

 

1. City Council receive the Annual TransformTO Net Zero Progress and Accountability Report, in Attachment 1 and its related attachments to the report (March 13, 2024) from the Executive Director, Environment and Climate Division, for information.

 

2. City Council confirm support for a renewed focus and coordinated approach on climate resilience at the City of Toronto.

 

3. City Council direct the Executive Director, Environment and Climate Division in collaboration with all City Divisions, Agencies, Boards, and Corporations to report back to the Infrastructure and Environment Committee in the fourth quarter of 2025 with the following:

 

a. an update on Division, Agencies and Corporations' current activities and future plans where current and future climate conditions are included in their respective infrastructure, operational, policy, and program planning;

 

b. a refreshed governance approach that integrates climate resilience into decision-making and co-ordination across the services, assets, and communities of the City of Toronto, that builds upon the climate-specific learnings from the City's 2019 Resilience Strategy;

 

c. a list of climate resilience priorities and recommended next steps based on technical analysis of climate risk that incorporate insights from engagement with internal and external partners; and

 

d. a discussion of how Indigenous worldviews and relationships with Indigenous communities have been prioritized in climate resilience planning to date.

 

4. City Council Direct the Executive Director, Environment and Climate, and the Executive Director, Corporate Real Estate Management, in collaboration with other Divisions, Agencies, Boards and Corporations of the City of Toronto, to include in the TransformTO Net Zero Implementation Strategy for 2026-2030 a timeline, the resources for, and process for, phasing out the use of fossil gas in all new and existing City-owned facilities by 2040.

 

5. City Council request that the General Manager, Transportation Services, in consultation with the Toronto Transit Commission, to report back to the Infrastructure and Environment Committee by the fourth quarter of 2024 on opportunities to improve the speed and reliability of surface transit by reducing hours for on-street parking in the vicinity of construction-related lane restrictions.

 

6. City Council request the Executive Director, Environment and Climate, to report back on existing resources and potential City measures to support residential homeowners in pursuing energy efficient and net zero renovations, as part of reporting on the development of emissions performance standards for existing buildings in the fourth quarter of 2024.

Origin

(March 13, 2024) Report from the Executive Director, Environment and Climate Division

Summary

This report offers a comprehensive update on climate change. It highlights the progress made in mitigating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions towards achieving net-zero emissions by 2040 (with full details in the attached Annual TransformTO Net Zero Progress and Accountability Report) and proposes a renewed focus and coordinated approach to building resilience to a changing climate within the City of Toronto.

 

Impacts of the changing climate

 

Toronto is experiencing weather that is hotter, wetter, and wilder, and these conditions are expected to worsen. The number of days per year with temperatures above 30°Celsius (extreme heat days) has already increased from an average of 8 days in the 1950s to about 18 days per year now. Data suggests that if global emissions remain on their current path this could increase to 29 days by the 2030s (2021-2050), and 54 days by the 2060s (2051-2080)1. As well, data suggests that by 2080 Toronto will experience an increase in annual precipitation of 19 percent, and extreme rainstorms with 30 percent more rainfall than the historical baseline (1971-2000), which are expected to lead to flooding and associated infrastructure damage, injuries, habitat degradation, degraded water quality, soil erosion and disruptions to services and the economy.

 

Over the past year, extreme heat, wildfire, flooding, and storm events in Toronto, across Canada, and globally further illustrated how harmful and costly these events can be to residents and the assets and services that support them. The impacts of climate change also amplify existing socio-economic vulnerabilities and inequities, unfairly affecting people who already have challenges coping.

 

The City's focus to date has been to do its share to respond to a global call to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and avoid harmful temperature rise. A second but no less important stream of City responsibility is to steadily build Toronto's resilience and readiness at a local level to respond to the day-to-day exposure of Torontonians living in an increasingly unpredictable climate.

 

Progress towards achieving net zero emissions

 

The City's efforts to mitigate climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions are detailed in Attachment 1: Annual TransformTO Net Zero Progress and Accountability Report. This new annual report format offers a comprehensive and accessible view of City-led Greenhouse Gas reduction actions, highlighting the progress midway through the City's first Short-Term Implementation Plan (2022-2026) with respect to the critical steps needed to achieve net zero.

 

The City is leading at the cutting - edge of work to reduce emissions in Toronto. Key highlights include:

 

- The Toronto Green Standard which is helping new developments reduce emissions by 15,000 to CO2e per year,

- City-led work to develop Emission Performance Standards for existing buildings that will help align business and household decisions with a transition to technologies like heat pumps that run on clean electricity, and

- Greening the Corporate fleet with emissions on pace for the 45 percent emission reduction target by 2025 and TTC planning for a zero-emissions bus fleet by 2037 – three years ahead of schedule.

 

Additionally, a summation of Toronto's 2024 budget commitments shows that while Toronto’s actions are making a positive difference, the goal of net zero emissions by 2040 is at risk unless the City, other levels of government, residents and businesses support and invest in transformative actions that meet the scope and scale of the climate challenge.

 

The report also highlights how the City can tackle the biggest source of Greenhouse Gas emissions – fossil (natural) gas for heating buildings – by moving forward with Emission Performance Standards for every building in Toronto which will be outlined in further detail later in 2024. Additional opportunities to accelerate progress will be presented in Toronto's next 2026 - 2030 Net Zero Strategy Short-term Implementation Plan, due in 2025.

 

Full details on progress implementing the Net Zero Strategy and new Carbon Accountability measures can be found in the attachments to this report.

 

Increasing Readiness for Climate Change

 

As the climate changes, Toronto strives to remain a livable and vibrant City for all. While many divisions are already doing important work to reduce risks from climate change, the potential for climate change to negatively affect the City and its residents is clear.

 

The City of Toronto does not currently have a Council-adopted climate resilience or adaptation plan; however, consistent with recommendations from the Resilience Strategy, Environment and Climate is restarting city - wide discussions on resilience by establishing a new role to coordinate climate resilience planning and action in a unified way, city-wide, starting with proposing a refreshed governance approach.

 

In 2022-2023, a new team was established within Environment and Climate to specifically support climate resilience. During Fall 2023, Environment and Climate led inter-divisional discussions and workshops with 21 divisions and agencies to identify the current status of climate resilience work across the city and map out priorities for addressing climate risks now and in the future.

 

An outcome of this work identified the benefit of establishing centralized, refreshed guidance on climate resilience that builds on past work, incorporates up-to-date information, aligns us with peer cities, and protects vulnerable people. Four priority areas for action surfaced: (i) clear direction to address climate resilience as a priority (ii) an approach that will prioritize Indigenous worldviews, relational views of land protection and Indigenous community leadership to enhance climate resilience, (iii) more access to evidence, information, expertise, and advice to guide the City's priorities and actions, and (iv) development of a clear framework, mandate and objectives for addressing climate impacts at a City-wide level.

 

It should be noted however, that while Environment and Climate is well - positioned to coordinate and support climate resilience city - wide, each division, agency and corporation will need to play a leadership role to integrate climate considerations into their own policies, programs, and activities.

 

As part of this work, Environment and Climate will be collecting and analysing local evidence and data which is fundamental to the work of collective and divisional resilience planning. A climate risk and vulnerability assessment will meet this need, generating updated, local, future climate projections for the City and identifying the people, assets, and services, including natural systems, that are most vulnerable to climate impacts. This additional work scope, which will conclude in early 2025, will help prioritize potential adaptation actions and support recommendations for how to best minimize impacts to residents, many of whom are already disproportionately impacted by climate change.

 

To clarify the financial risks facing Toronto from climate change and provide context to the costs of adaptation, the City is partnering with the new Ontario Resource Centre for Climate Adaptation (ORCCA) to estimate the cost of inaction. In 2020, Toronto reported that four rainstorm, ice storm, and high lake / windstorm events directly cost the City a combined $228 million dollars between 2005-2017 while a recent study done in Ontario estimated that a proactive adaptation approach would save $1.1 billion dollars per year in climate costs by the end of the century, compared with paying for the damage inflicted by those same impacts retrospectively.

 

A detailed evaluation of our progress to net zero by 2040 and a renewed focus on coordinating climate resilience activities that builds on data about future climate, risks, and costs will together shape critical actions and next steps that will prepare our city government, our economy, our ecosystems, our communities, and our residents for a changing climate.

Background Information

(March 13, 2024) Report from the Executive Director, Environment and Climate Division on Toronto's Climate Change Readiness: Updates on commitments and a refreshed mandate for coordinating resilience activities
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2024/ie/bgrd/backgroundfile-244181.pdf
Attachment 1 - Annual TransformTO Net Zero Progress and Accountability Report
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2024/ie/bgrd/backgroundfile-244190.pdf
Attachment 2 - Appendix 1.1 Summary of implementation progress to date for the Short- term Implementation Plan 2022-2025 of the TransformTO Net Zero Strategy
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2024/ie/bgrd/backgroundfile-244191.pdf
Attachment 3 - Appendix 1.2 Summary of implementation progress to date on responding to City Council directions on the TransformTO Net Zero Strategy
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2024/ie/bgrd/backgroundfile-244192.pdf
Attachment 4 - Appendix 1.3 GHG Reduction Actions in 2024 Budget
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2024/ie/bgrd/backgroundfile-244193.pdf

Communications

(March 21, 2024) E-mail from Piotr Sepski (IE.Supp)
(March 26, 2024) Letter from Alison Stewart, Director, Advocacy and Public Policy, Cycle Toronto (IE.Supp)
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2024/ie/comm/communicationfile-178275.pdf
(March 26, 2024) Letter from Elizabeth Antczak M.Arch, CELOS researcher (IE.Supp)
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2024/ie/comm/communicationfile-178276.pdf
(March 26, 2024) E-mail from Chris Chopik, Director, Resilient Homes Canada (IE.Supp)
(March 26, 2024) Letter from How-Sen Chong, Climate Campaigner and Sarah Buchanan, Campaigns Director, Toronto Environmental Alliance (IE.Supp)
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2024/ie/comm/communicationfile-178296.pdf
(March 26, 2024) E-mail from John Paul Morgan, President and Chief Technology Officer, Morgan Solar Inc. (IE.Supp)
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2024/ie/comm/communicationfile-178300.pdf
(March 27, 2024) Letter from Don Booth (IE.Supp)
(March 27, 2024) Letter from Lyn Adamson, Co-Chair, ClimateFast (IE.Supp)
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2024/ie/comm/communicationfile-178309.pdf
(March 27, 2024) E-mail from Chris Keating, Gasbusters Toronto (IE.Supp)
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2024/ie/comm/communicationfile-178558.pdf

Speakers

How-Sen Chong, Toronto Environmental Alliance
Anushen Selvasegar
Zouahl Kayoumi, Saint James Town Climate Action Crew
Lyn Adamson, ClimateFast
Priyan de Silva
Michael Longfield, Cycle Toronto
Anne Keary
Don Booth

Motions

1a - Motion to Amend Item (Additional) moved by Councillor Dianne Saxe (Carried)

That the Infrastructure and Environment Committee recommend that:

 

1. City Council Direct the Executive Director, Environment and Climate, and the Executive Director, Corporate Real Estate Management, in collaboration with other Divisions, Agencies, Boards and Corporations of the City of Toronto, to include in the TransformTO Net Zero Implementation Strategy for 2026-2030 a timeline, the resources for, and process for, phasing out the use of fossil gas in all new and existing City-owned facilities by 2040.


1b - Motion to Amend Item (Additional) moved by Councillor Dianne Saxe (Carried)

That the Infrastructure and Environment Committee recommend that:

 

1. City Council request that the General Manager, Transportation Services, in consultation with the Toronto Transit Commission, to report back to the Infrastructure and Environment Committee by the fourth quarter of 2024 on opportunities to improve the speed and reliability of surface transit by reducing hours for on-street parking in the vicinity of construction-related lane restrictions.


2 - Motion to Amend Item (Additional) moved by Councillor Jennifer McKelvie (Carried)

That the Infrastructure and Environment Committee recommend that:

 

1. City Council request the Executive Director, Environment and Climate, to report back on existing resources and potential City measures to support residential homeowners in pursuing energy efficient and net zero renovations, as part of reporting on the development of emissions performance standards for existing buildings in the fourth quarter of 2024.


Motion to Adopt Item as Amended moved by Councillor Jennifer McKelvie (Carried)
Source: Toronto City Clerk at www.toronto.ca/council