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02/06/2013

Toronto can be greener sooner, says study

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Toronto City HAll's green roof is seen in this May 2010 file photo. (Colin McConnell/Toronto Star)


It can be done.

Toronto can reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 70 per cent in the long-term, says a study published in the Canadian Journal of Civil Engineering.

The study examined two alternative strategies that could help Toronto implement a low carbon urban infrastructure plan by 2031. In the first scenario, based on the city’s current policies was found to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 31 per cent. In the other, the more aggressive one, could reduce emissions by 71 per cent.

Strategies under the latter, aggressive scenario include retrofitting all existing buildings, using renewable heating and cooling systems.

Cities are considered major players in climate change because more than half of the world’s population lives in urban centres and more than 70 per cent of global emissions have been attributed to cities.

“Our research shows that it is technically possible for cities, even in Canada, to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 70% or more in the long-term,” Chris Kennedy, professor in the faculty of Applied Science and Engineering at University of Toronto, in a statement.

Buildings, energy supply and transport are this study’s main focus.

Raveena Aulakh is the Toronto Star's environment reports. She is intrigued by climate change and its impact, now and long-term. Follow her on Twitter @raveenaaulakh

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