Toronto to stay the course on fighting climate change, even though Donald Trump won't
Mayor John Tory says the city is moving ahead with its plan to reduce greenhouse gases
U.S. President Donald Trump may not have any use for the Paris climate agreement, but that isn't stopping the city of Toronto from reaffirming its intention to fight global warming.
Not long after Trump announced his decision Thursday to pull the United States out of the deal, Mayor John Tory told CBC Toronto the move won't affect the city's resolve to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, saying his administration is moving forward with its climate change plan, dubbed TransformTO.
"We're bringing TransformTO forward to the city council in the next couple of weeks. It's an extensive program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as we said we would in Paris and we're going to move forward with that," he said.
"It's good for the environment. It's good for the economy and it's the right thing to do."
Speaking from Ottawa where he's attending a conference of Canada's big city mayors, Tory also said he hopes Trump's decision opens a door for Toronto to take advantage of the burgeoning renewable energy industry.
'Significant benefits' for Toronto?
"What you can hope, I suppose, is some smart people who have an interest in pursuing clean tech and pursuing different ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions — and quite frankly create jobs — may decide to locate themselves in Toronto ... It's going to clean up the environment and I think it'll pay significant benefits to the economy."
Meantime, Ontario's Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Glen Murray took to Twitter Thursday to express his dismay at Trump's announcement.
The decision by the President of the United States today has left me unable to find words to express my feelings. There are no words for it—@Glen4ONT
The province has taken several measures over the past year to fight global warming, releasing its $8.3 billion Climate Change Action Plan in June of 2016, and joining Quebec and California in a cap-and-trade scheme to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The government said its first cap-and-trade auction in March brought in $472 million.
And Premier Kathleen Wynne reacted to Trump's decision Thursday by making it clear on social media that Ontario and Canada would stay the course,
Canada is behind the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ParisAgreement?src=hash">#ParisAgreement</a> & Ontario will keep leading. We’ve capped pollution & are making homes & businesses more efficient.—@Kathleen_Wynne
But University of Toronto political scientist Matthew Hoffman says even if Canada, Ontario and Toronto move ahead with their plans to tackle climate change, Trump's decision could have a huge impact north of the border because the U.S. is by far Canada's largest trading partner.
"Mainly it's the uncertainty that I think is something that we need to be worried about right now," Hoffman told CBC Toronto Thursday.
"Given that the United States is going to potentially be pretty isolated around some of these really important economic dynamics, around renewable energy and around the benefits of being in the Paris agreement, we could see some negative impacts on the U.S. economy," he said.
"Anything that happens negatively to the U.S. economy is going to affect us here in Canada."
With files from Greg Ross and John Rieti