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Henderson & Johnson: A real path to real carbon cuts, led by the private sector

Written by Brad Henderson and Robert Johnson
Published in the National Post

The political will around the environment certainly looks more promising in recent days. All levels of Toronto’s government – Mayor John Tory, Ontario’s Premier Kathleen Wynne, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau –attended the United Nation’s climate summit in Paris. Trudeau committed to doubling federal spending on public transit and other infrastructure to $10 billion a year and pledged $300 million a year to clean technology innovation. Provincially, Wynne has promised that a cap-and-trade system is coming to Ontario and the recent Ontario Fall Economic Statement proposed a Green Investment Fund to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Closer to home, the City of Toronto has set a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent by 2050.

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We’ve seen the impact that can happen when the private sector steps up through CivicAction’s Race to Reduce – a voluntary program that challenged Toronto region office building landlords and tenants to collectively reduce energy use by at least 10 per cent over four years. At the end of the Race, participants celebrated a drop of 12.1 per cent in collective energy use – the equivalent of taking more than 4,200 cars off the road and putting $13.7 million back into office landlords’ and tenants’ pockets, proving that sustainability is not only the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do.

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