Electric vehicle rebate among staff proposals to speed up Toronto’s target to become a carbon neutral city
NEW YORK – Toronto could save $5.4 billion a year by going carbon neutral at the speed of two per cent greenhouse gas emissions, as opposed to the 10 to 20 years required to be a “net zero” city.
A report from a panel of expert witnesses, including Michael Wessels, the mayor of Portland, Ore., and Thomas Burke, the former executive director of the International Energy Agency, suggests that a city can be carbon neutral by 2025, if it can build a low-carbon grid, a rapid transit system and a low-carbon building sector.
“It is possible to build a smart city with carbon neutrality in the next 15 years,” said Mr. Wessels.
The city could make big savings even faster, by installing electric cars on a network of rapid transit and bus routes and charging them with electricity produced with renewable sources, he argued.
It was among the proposals presented to the city at a meeting of the Global Cities Assembly on the Future of Cities, hosted by the city Tuesday.
The Assembly’s final report, to be released Wednesday, makes the case for a carbon-neutral city, while identifying the barriers on city officials’ path to zero emissions.
The city is aiming for net zero emissions by 2050. Mr. Wessels said his vision would take 15 years to get there, at the speed of two per cent emissions reductions.
The proposal for Toronto is for the city to use a “smart grid” with zero carbon technology, but also to use electricity produced from renewable sources, such as wind or solar. The city could sell electricity back for electricity and thus avoid purchasing much of the carbon-dioxide-emitting gas and oil used to produce it.
The city could save $5.4 billion a year if it went carbon neutral at two per cent emissions reductions, the report says. Toronto is set to achieve this goal in 2025, based on the existing emissions reduction program in force in the city.
“But the challenge is