Mayor Sadiq Khan Warns That Time Is Running Out To Act On The Climate Emergency as London Faces Threat of Soaring Temperatures and Floods
Ahead of COP26 and the expansion of the Ultra Low Emission Zone, Mayor of London delivers keynote speech at the Barbican Centre in which he warns we are at a crossroads for tackling the climate emergency
Sadiq launches city-wide campaign to inspire all Londoners – individuals, businesses and communities – to take action, starting with an art installation supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies at a primary school which was previously one of the most polluted in London
If temperatures continue to rise at current rates, the Tube could become unusable for over a month every year and a quarter of all London’s stations are now at high risk of flooding
New Climate Vulnerability Mapping produced by City Hall and Bloomberg Associates shows London boroughs most at risk from flooding and overheating over the next decade
As we prepare for COP 26, the expansion of the world-leading Ultra Low Emission Zone, a new Environment Bill and new targets set by the World Health Organization for toxic air, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has today warned time is running out to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement and to tackle the climate emergency before it’s too late.
COP26 will be a critical moment for the UK to show its climate leadership. The agreement that nations from around the world reach in Glasgow this November will determine whether we are going to avert the worst consequences of climate change, which could be devastating for London.
Sadiq will make a keynote speech today spelling out why the climate emergency remains one of the biggest threats London and the world faces. Average temperatures around the world, including in London, are already getting higher. This summer, we saw the impact of the climate emergency first-hand with soaring temperatures and flash floods in London.
Climate Vulnerability Mapping produced by City Hall and Bloomberg Associates shows that six London boroughs are at particularly high risk from the effects of climate change, with most boroughs, particularly in inner London, showing at least some high risk.
The boroughs at particularly high risk, meaning that the risk of both flooding and overheating are very high, putting lives and livelihoods at risk, are:
- Hammersmith and Fulham
- Tower Hamlets
More generally, the Climate Vulnerability Mapping has identified that:
- a quarter of London’s Tube Stations, and 1 in 10 of the rail network altogether, are at high risk of flooding in the future if extreme temperatures and flooding get worse.
- 1 in 5 of our schools are either totally or partially at risk of flooding and nearly half of our hospitals.
- there are nearly 200,000 existing homes and workplaces in London that are at either high or medium risk of surface water flooding alone, leaving over a million Londoners at risk.
In London, the Mayor has already taken action through the introduction of the world’s-first Ultra Low Emission Zone, which has helped reduce pollution in central London by nearly half at the same time as helping to reduce carbon emissions. On 25 October, the zone will expand up to the north and south circular, taking in 3.8 million Londoners, and is expected to reduce road transport NOx emissions by around 30 per cent. The Mayor has also: planted 340,000 trees since 2016; introduced over 500 zero emission buses; committed to making London a zero-carbon city by 2030, faster than any comparable city; developed a climate action plan that is compatible with the highest ambition of the Paris Agreement; and, through his London Plan, achieved carbon emission reductions of almost 50 per cent more than set by building regulations.
The Mayor’s London Plan Energy Monitoring Report 2020, released today, shows that his planning policies are achieving on-site carbon reduction of 46.2 per cent more than required by national building regulations. This is a saving of 43,886 tonnes of carbon a year.
Today the Mayor also launches a London-wide environment campaign to inspire all Londoners – individuals, businesses and communities – to take action too. This is starting with an art installation by Julian Beever at Prior Weston primary school symbolising the crossroads we currently face and that by making the right choices we can provide a greener, fairer future for younger generations.
Most important of all, the UK Government must realise that in order to achieve its own net zero target it must devolve powers and long-term funds to London and other Mayors and local authorities who will be delivering the action on the ground. Top-down policies and institutions have far greater impact if regional and local governments have the flexibility to tailor them to their regional and local priorities.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “In the year of COP26, a new Environment Bill and new targets set by the WHO for toxic air, London is at a crossroads. We either take bold action now or face the consequences – with catastrophic impacts on our environment, the air we breathe and the climate.
“I’m determined for London to be a world leader in tackling the twin dangers of air pollution and the climate emergency so that we can deliver a brighter future for London – one that’s greener, fairer and more prosperous for everyone. That’s why I’ve committed to making London a zero-carbon city by 2030, faster than any comparable city, and it’s why we are delivering a climate action plan that is compatible with the highest ambition of the Paris Agreement. I also want London to be a zero-pollution city so that no child has to grow up in our city breathing toxic air.
“But I can’t do it all alone. That’s why today I’m launching my city-wide campaign to inspire all Londoners – individuals, businesses and communities – to take action. I also want to work with the Government to unlock the powers and funding needed to meet our targets, which will help deliver national targets too.”
Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg L.P. and Bloomberg Philanthropies and the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Climate Ambition and Solutions, said: “The latest data makes it clear that the global climate emergency requires bold local action. At Bloomberg Philanthropies, we are glad to support the Mayor of London’s creative and promising efforts to capitalize on the power of data and art to increase support for public health and raise awareness of the urgent need to fight climate change. We’ve been strong supporters of the Mayor’s determined efforts to continue improving London’s air quality and engage young people in his ambition to make London a zero-carbon city by 2030, and this new initiative builds on that work.”
The “Live and Breathe London” campaign will launch on 23 September and will run across radio, digital, podcasts, social media and on the TfL network to raise awareness of the climate emergency we face and to inspire all of London to take action. The campaign will launch with the unveiling of an art installation designed by renowned 3D pavement artist Julian Beever which depicts London at a crossroads, warning of the future London may face if action is not taken. The campaign will also engage Londoners with positive changes that will be happening over the coming months, such as the expansion of ULEZ and the Glasgow COP.
- The Climate Vulnerability Mapping for London is available here: https://data.london.gov.uk/dataset/climate-risk-mapping
- Data shows that London’s £48 billion green economy now supports five per cent of jobs in the capital – it is worth more than the construction and manufacturing sectors combined and has grown rapidly over the last decade, creating more than 161,000 new jobs in that time. The Mayor’s Green New Deal Fund supports the London Recovery Board’s ambition to double the size of the green economy in London to £100 billion by 2030, an ambition that would kick-start greater job growth over the next decade.
- The Mayor’s London Plan Energy Monitoring Report 2020 can be found here: