For the first time ever Toronto city council has designated funds to combat climate change. TransformTO, the climate program of the city's Environment and Energy Division, developed eight initiatives, at a cost of $1.6 million, to kickstart the city's actions toward a goal of 30 per cent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, and 80 per cent reduction by 2050.
TransformTO is a new program and as such was fighting against the city's austerity approach that was calling for cuts across the board. On Wednesday, Council adopted a budget funding three of the programs for a total of $330,000, or 20 per cent of the funds. Many activists sought to see the full funding of $1.6 million voted in by council. A grassroots campaign encouraging constituents to contact their councillors in support of full funding nearly carried the day. However the effort fell short by two votes in a 23-21 decision.
Still, the motion garnered strong support from across the political spectrum.
"People in my ward are very affected by climate impacts, including flooding," said Councillor James Pasternak, representing the city's north end, "My constituents care about this issue."
"The city faces 44 degree days, 66 days of the year, and extreme rainstorms in 2040 if carbon dioxide emissions are not drastically cut internationally," said climate activist Sharon Howarth. "Toronto needs to do its part. Insurance companies are well aware of the cost of climate inaction and it's something our councillors must address."
On Monday before the vote students of Thorncliffe Park Public School brought Valentines expressing their love for nature, for the city, and their concerns about climate change to City Hall for the mayor and their city councillor, Jon Burnside.
But despite the Valentines' which were also delivered to Mayor Tory's office, more than 700 signatures on petitions, and Mayor Tory's own Paris statement committing him to climate action. Mayor Tory voted against the motion to extend full funding for TransformTO. "This was a missed opportunity, but we are hopeful for the future," said climate activist Rosemary Boissonneau. "It's a historic first step for our city."
You can find background info at ClimateFast.ca
Like this article? rabble is reader-supported journalism.
Image: NadineM Media
Thank you for reading this story...
More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all. But media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our only supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help.
If everyone who visits rabble and likes it chipped in a couple of dollars per month, our future would be much more secure and we could do much more: like the things our readers tell us they want to see more of: more staff reporters and more work to complete the upgrade of our website.
We’re asking if you could make a donation, right now, to set rabble on solid footing in 2017.