Toronto's Targets

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

Toronto's Emissions Reduction Plan

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

  • 30% by 2020 (19 MtCO2e per year)
  • 80% by 2050 (5.4 MtCO2e per year)

Both targets are based on Toronto's 1990 CO2e emissions.

If Toronto follows the TransformTO plan our cumulative emissions will be approximately 575 MtCO2e by 2050 and 610 MtCO2e by 2060 (relative to 2011).

Maximum cumulative global emissions (carbon budget)

In 2015, Canada signed the Paris Agreement to do our share of keeping global temperature increases well below 2 degrees C and as close to 1.5 degrees C as possible. In 2014 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report included estimates for the maximum global cumulative CO2 emissions (as of 2011) in order to keep global temperatures under various levels. We have estimated that Toronto's share of these global budgets should be based on our share of the global population (0.03%). The budgets that we use are those in our calculations for a likely (greater than 66%) chance of global temperature increases remaining under 1.5 and 2 degrees C. The IPCC also estimated limits for remaining under 3 degrees C and we have included them in some of our charts, but it is universally accepted that 3 degrees C would destroy life as we know it.

Toronto's share of global carbon limits

Toronto's share of the global population is 0.03%. Therefore, as of 2018, if we want to do our share to prevent global temperatures from increasing by more than 1.5oC, our remaining population-based share of the global carbon budget is zero and 230 MtCO2e for 2oC. Our remaining emissions-based shares are 80 MtCO2e for a likely chance of remaining below 1.5oC and 440 MtCO2e for below 2oC.

The following charts compare the TransformTO targets with the population-based limits needed to keep below Toronto's carbon budgets for less than 1.5oC or 2oC.

TransformTO, population-shared emission reduction limits
Population-shared and emissions-shared carbon budgets and cumulative emissions resulting from TransformTO emission reduction limits
The coloured areas represent the projected cumulative emissions: the yellow area represents the limit in order to have a greater than 66% chance of keeping our global temperatures from increasing more than 1.5oC; the green area is for remaining below 2oC; and the blue area represents the TransformTO plan total. It should be possible to meet the limit for remaining below 2oC by approximately 2019. For comparison, the area under red line represents the cumulative emissions for remaining below 3oC
This represents the carbon budgets and cumulative emissions that the TransformTO plan will lead to (blue line). There are 4 carbon budgets depending upon the maximum global temperature increase (1.5 and 2oC) and sharing strategy (population-based or emissions-based).

The legends are described below. Click on the charts to see them full size.

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

< 1.5oC
< 2oC
30% - 19 MtCO2e
100% (by 2019)
38% - 17 MtCO2e
66% - 9 MtCO2e
94% - 2 MtCO2e
80% - 5 MtCO2e
100% (by 2042)


How many years of our remaining budgets (from 2016) will Toronto have if we continue emitting at our current rate of approximately 20 MtCO2e/year?

  • 2 years for less than 1.5oC
  • 13 years for less than 2oC

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


Legend for charts

The blue line represents TransformTO's limits and the diamonds represent annual emissions:

 20 MtCO2e (6% below 1990 by 2012)
 19 MtCO2e (30% below 1990 by 2020)
  5 MtCO2e (80% below 1990 by 2050)

The green line represents Toronto's population-based limits for keeping global temperatures from increasing by more than 1.5oC which is the global temperature increase that Canada pledged to pursue in the Paris Agreement ("pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels")

The yellow line represents the limits for keeping global temperatures remaining below 2oC. This is the maximum global temperature increase that Canada pledged in the Paris Agreement ("holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels")

The red line represents the limits for preventing temperatures from rising above 3oC. This global temperature increase would lead to climate chaos, and we pledged to do our share to prevent this.

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%)