Toronto, ON — Carbon emissions in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) increased by 2.2 million tonnes, or 4.5 per cent in 2021, according to a recent Atmospheric Fund (TAF) report. While all regions increased emissions, there were significant differences in the pace, ranging from a 15 per cent increase in Halton to a 1.3 per cent increase in Toronto.
The recent report includes 2021 data and analyzes longer-term emission trends and progress against targets.
“With the new term of council starting today (Nov. 15), GTHA municipalities and regions must accelerate policies, investments and engagements that support affordable, low-carbon communities,” said Julia Langer, CEO of TAF.
The report states that “the overall flatlining trend reflects little progress since 2015. This stands in contrast to the annual eight per cent decrease needed to hit our 2030 targets; without immediate action, the rate only grows steeper if the region continues along the current trajectory.”
Data from TAF shows that rising emissions in almost every sector drove the overall increase: natural gas used for building space heating; gasoline and diesel from more kilometres travelled by car; and increased use of natural gas for electricity generation.
TAF reports that emissions in 2021 came from the following, buildings (44 per cent), transportation (31 per cent), industry (20 per cent), waste (four per cent), and agriculture (one per cent).
The data further shows that emissions from electricity rose by 28 per cent in 2021, and transportation emissions increased by 2.3 per cent. While natural gas emissions in buildings increased by 1.7 per cent.
Despite the increased numbers, “There are reasons for optimism, both within and outside the data in this report. For one, the rebound in emissions in 2021 was substantially smaller than the pandemic-induced drop in 2020. In the wake of the pandemic, transportation emissions fell 18 per cent and only increased by about two per cent in 2021. Some of the changes in transportation demand are likely to endure permanently,” adds Bryan Purcell, vice president of policy and programs at TAF.