What’s the sense of Toronto spending $145 billion to eliminate 0.00001℃/year of global warming?

Toronto City Council recently passed its 2024 budget after a lot of drama. The 2024 operating budget and the 2024-2033 capital budget reached C$17 billion and $49.8 billion respectively.  This included a 9.5% property tax increase, the biggest increase in 25 years.

For months, Toronto City Council struggled to fill in a projected $1.8 billion shortfall. The Toronto Region Board of Trade predicts a “fiscal chasm” of $36 billion over the next ten years, so we can expect more of the same.

To fill the gap, Mayor Olivia Chow and City Council requested cash transfers from the provincial and federal governments and raised property taxes.

Eventually, a combination of transfers, a property tax increase, and unloading the care of some major roads to the provincial government balanced the budget.

The reality is the City’s budget is wasteful. The biggest waste by far is TransformTO Net Zero. This is Toronto’s plan to fight climate change.

Judge for yourself. Canada emits 1.5% of global greenhouse gases. Toronto has about 7.6% of Canada’s total population. According to climate.gov, a US government website, Earth’s temperature has risen by an average 0.06° Celsius per decade since 1850, or roughly 0.006° per year. I prefer a more generous estimate of global warming of 0.0096° per year.

That implies that Toronto’s contribution to global warming is about 0.00001℃/year (0.0096 x 0.015 x 0.076 ≃0.00001). That’s it. That figure is so tiny that it’s insignificant.

Do you know how much Toronto City Council has allocated to eliminating 0.00001℃/year? According to the 2024 Budget Briefing Note Carbon Budget Baseline, capital and operating budgets for greenhouse gas reduction actions for 2024 alone are $1.5 billion and $63.6 million respectively. The TransformTO capital plan for 2024-2033 is $12.9 billion.

It gets bigger. TransformTO 2022 Annual Report: Laying the Foundation for Net Zero states that to achieve greenhouse gas reduction targets “…over the next thirty years, the total investment required by the entire [Toronto] community, that is, the City corporation, the business community, other levels of government, and individual residents, is $145 Billion.”

Let me repeat that figure: $145 billion. A staggering amount of money will be spent to accomplish nothing. Well, almost nothing – it will reduce global warming by 0.00001℃/year.

Imagine what we could collectively achieve by spending the money allocated to “fighting climate change” to solving real problems like homelessness (a real emergency), deteriorating public infrastructure, public transportation, etc. Three homeless people died every week on the streets of Toronto in 2023.

Here’s one example of what TransformTO, will fund: “Expand Neighbourhood Climate Action Champions Program”. They will “inspire, motivate and encourage residents to undertake community-focused actions to support TransformTO and reduce emissions to net zero.” If you live in Toronto, I hope you will sleep better at night knowing that climate missionaries will come knocking on your door to educate you about climate.

How did we get to this point? The answer is broad and deep, but let’s limit it to Council’s role.

In 2019, City of Toronto Council voted unanimously to declare a climate emergency and committed to achieving Net Zero by 2040, one of the most ambitious Net Zero targets in North America. A news release showed Toronto’s eagerness to follow:

Toronto is joining more than 800 cities around the world in acknowledging the scale of the climate crisis including Amsterdam, Auckland, Barcelona, Edmonton, London, Los Angeles, Montréal, New York City, Ottawa, Paris, San Francisco, Sydney and Vancouver.

Could the governments of so many big cities spanning the globe all be wrong? As of today, 2,355 jurisdictions around the world have declared a climate emergency. Yes, it is possible; groupthink can and does lead to bad decisions.

Then Toronto City Council guaranteed absurd spending on net zero by ensuring “a climate lens that evaluates and considers the climate impacts of all major City of Toronto decisions, including financial decisions”. This means in effect that reducing greenhouse gases will outweigh all other criteria and considerations during the budget preparation process.

This is what fanaticism looks like. So, Toronto’s budget crisis is at least partly self-inflicted, but Council is making property owners pay for its mistake via higher property taxes.



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Toronto needs to lead, not follow other cities. It could prevent future financial crises by cancelling TransformTO.

If Toronto’s residents don’t push back on this waste, Council will be emboldened to abuse taxpayers even more. Several of the councilors who voted to declare a climate emergency years ago are still councilors today. Is your councilor one of them? You can view the list here (scroll to the bottom). I reached out to councilors and the mayor with my concerns months ago and got no response even though Toronto City Council formally asked its residents recently for feedback on the proposed budget. Contact information for Toronto City Council is found here.

If you live in one of the 2,355 jurisdictions around the world which have declared a climate emergency, it may very well have a net-zero program.  If so, estimate its contribution to global warming using the method shown above. You may get a shock.

Is your city or state taking a balanced, sensible, cost-conscious approach to climate change? Give us some good news in the comments below.

Fabiano Micoli has a B.Eng. (mechanical), MBA, and B.Ed. (math and physics). He writes from Toronto.

Image: Toronto skyline / Bigstock 


Showing 6 reactions

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  • David Page
    commented 2024-03-31 12:12:45 +1100
    Will it it hurt to do so?
  • William Tuke
    Link here to a new documentary on climate change entitled:
    ’Climate the Movie: The Cold Truth"
    Link: https://twitter.com/wideawake_media/status/1770552312710217954
    Duration 1 hour 20 mins.
  • mrscracker
    Considering the sort of winters Toronto suffers you might think they’d appreciate a little warming.
  • Tim Lee
    At the root of this pseudo-religion, “…our politicians are assisting in the fabrication of a ‘climate crisis’ so as to sell their own solution, namely big government. So, the government, previously viewed as a ‘necessary evil’ and potential violator of basic rights and freedoms, now becomes our ultimate ‘saviour’. Call this a form of idolatry if you wish.”

    A measured, sensible response is “to avoid pollution and preserve our natural resources in a responsible manner… However, ‘environmentalist’ efforts to cut carbon emissions make energy less affordable and accessible, which drives up the costs of consumer products, stifles economic growth, costs jobs, and imposes harmful effects on the Earth’s poorest people.” https://www.mercatornet.com/the_environmentalist_cult_demands_human_sacrifice

    And the myths peddled by modern-day prophets of doom and gloom: https://www.mercatornet.com/3-environmental-doomsday-myths-debunked
  • Jürgen Siemer
    commented 2024-03-20 17:44:58 +1100
    I do not believe in the man-made global warming climate apocalypse. There are warmer and there are colder years. Based on the analysis of the regular patterns of the magnetic field of the sun, which impact the number of sun spots and the energy emitted from the sun, I think that it is going to get colder soon. There is probably a little ice age coming in the next decades. It is due.

    I guess I am not the only one with these thoughts.

    The Dutch/British food company Unilever has announced today that they plan to sell their big ice cream business. Their explanation: last year had less sunny days which had a negative impact on ice cream consumption.

    They seem to believe that the number of sunny days is not going to increase, otherwise they would not sell the ice cream business, right?

    The company sees itself as a leader in ESG, sustainability and all the other bla bla stuff.

    But actions also speak.
  • Tim Lee
    An impoverished view of who we are limits our horizon. If we think that this life is all there is, we are inclined to maximise our happiness in the here and now at all costs. Yet, we cannot escape the sense of negative infinity in our souls. Climate catastrophism based on forecasting models in which a small tweak yields vastly different results becomes a religion to fill this hole.

    The sizzling hot and dry El Nino summer forecast in Australia this year became a mild and wet extended La Nina. Weather forecasts are less and less likely to be accurate the further out we look. We can’t even get next season’s forecast right, let alone next century’s. The ‘climate emergency’ will turn our to be as alarmist as the ‘population bomb’.