Mayor David Miller promises to reduce the city's greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent by 2020 and slash the harmful emissions by 80 per cent by 2050.

The pledge is part of a comprehensive and aggressive new plan to combat climate change and make Toronto the greenest city in North America, Miller says.

The framework, unveiled on Friday, includes increasing green energy usage, encouraging retrofitting of city homes and businesses to make them more energy efficient, a push for more bike lanes and the planting of millions of trees.

Miller also said the city will cut greenhouse gas emissions by six per cent by 2012.

"Cleaning up the air is the issue of our time, maybe of all time," the mayor said. "The city cannot win the war on climate change on its own, but we're prepared to lead the way."

The city will consider mandatory rules for new buildings to meet tougher energy-efficiency standards.

The proposals in the report titled "Change is in the Air" are based on European Union measures to cut emissions, including carbon dioxide from vehicles.

Other changes include:

  • Doubling the existing tree canopy to 34 per cent;
  • Converting all diesel-powered vehicles in city-operated fleet to bio-diesel by 2015; and
  • Looking at ways to substitute imported goods and food with locally produced ones.

Environmentalist Franz Hartmann, of the Toronto Environmental Alliance, lauded the agenda.

"It happens very rarely that I can walk home from work with a smile on my face. I can do that today because the right thing has happened."

TEA gave city council and Miller a C- grade last fall for their efforts at combating smog. Hartmann says the city is now headed down the right path.

"It tells me that the city is absolutely serious about cleaning the air and cutting greenhouse gas emissions," he said.

The report will go before council's executive committee on Monday for approval.

Public discussions will be held over the next few months, and the plan will go back to the executive by July.

With a report from CTV's Desmond Brown