Toronto council approves first phase of city's climate change plan
TORONTO, ONT-Toronto city council unanimously passed the first phase of Toronto's Climate Change, Clean Air and Sustainable Energy Action Plan, calling it the most ambitious environmental plan in North America. The plan, crafted with substantial public and stakeholder input, aims to surpass the greenhouse gas emission reduction target set by the Kyoto Protocol through action by Toronto's residents, businesses and communities. Initial funding will include $42 million for energy conservation measures, $20 million for renewable energy projects and $22 million for retrofitting City facilities. Along with measures to green the city's internal operations, the plan sets out a broad range of programs and initiatives, such as: a Live Green Toronto program to encourage Torontonians to adopt more environmentally friendly lifestyles and reduce energy use at home; a framework to renew Toronto's concrete high-rise residential buildings; a pilot program for residential solar hot water heating; a "one-window" source of information on federal, provincial, municipal, private sector and community programs related to energy and the environment; a plan to promote local food production and increase community gardens; community energy planning; a plan to double Toronto's tree canopy; and a plan to shift taxis and limousines to low-emission or hybrid technology. Phase Two of the Action Plan will build on the actions in Phase One and is expected to go to city council in the spring of 2008. Toronto's Climate Change, Clean Air and Sustainable Energy Plan: Phase One may be viewed on the city's Web site, www.toronto.ca/environment or requested from Access Toronto, 416/338-0338.