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GTA must reduce carbon emissions 4x faster, report says

The Greater Toronto Area, including Hamilton, has very little time to develop a plan to deal with greenhouse gas emissions. That finding comes in a report by an agency tasked with the job of fighting climate change.

The Atmospheric Fund’s report says the region must reduce greenhouse gases four times faster than it has been doing if it is to reach carbon neutrality by 2050.

The report, the first of its kind, looked at increases in carbon emissions across the region from 2015 to 2017, focusing on buildings, transportation, industry, waste and agriculture.

“The other finding that’s quite concerning is that transportation emissions are trending upwards. So actually we see a pretty strong upward trend in transportation emissions driven not just by the growth in the population, but also by a shifting consumer preference towards larger vehicles like SUVs and trucks,” said Bryan Purcell, the Atmospheric Fund’s vice president of policy and programs.

Purcell says while some emissions progress is being made across the region, it’s not nearly fast enough to get on track for long term climate targets. But he says the resources and people in the Greater Toronto Hamilton region are available.

“If we can’t do it, nobody can. And it really highlights that if we’re not making the progress even in this region than we all have a long way to go to honor our commitments to the climate emergency," Purcell said.

The Atmospheric Fund was set up by the City of Toronto in 1991 when Toronto was struggling with smog issues. It offers, among other things,  grants and investment in companies doing work in emissions reduction.

WBFO’s comprehensive news coverage extends into Southern Ontario and Dan Karpenchuk is the station’s voice from the north. The award-winning reporter covers binational issues, including economic trends, the environment, tourism and transportation.
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