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Climate change and weather

London’s climate is changing. We’re having hotter, drier summers and warmer, wetter winters.  We’re also having extreme weather like heavy rainfall and heatwaves more often. Most scientists agree that this is caused by human actions that emit greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide.

We’re tackling climate change in two ways: we’re cutting London’s greenhouse gas emissions to limit further climate change, and adapting to the changes in climate and extreme weather that are already happening.  Adapting will help us to reduce the impact of climate change and weather upon Londoners.

Cutting Emissions

We’re working to cut London’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions to limit further climate change. CO2 is produced when fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas are combusted in power stations, home boilers and cars, or from industrial processes like creating concrete.

The Mayor has set a target to reduce London’s carbon dioxide emissions by 60% of their 1990 level by 2025. Most of London’s emissions (about 80 per cent) come from burning fossil fuels to power and heat buildings, and the rest from transport. The Mayor’s Climate Change Mitigation and Energy Strategy  explains what we’re doing to meet this target.  To find out more about our programmes and activities, click on the below links:

Adapting to a changing climate

Our climate is already changing, and will change even more, as a result of the amount of greenhouse gases we have emitted into the atmosphere.

London’s summers are set to get hotter – by an estimated 1.6°C in the 2020s and 2.7°C in the 2050s. They are also getting drier – by an estimated 7% in the 2020s and 19% in the 2050s. The winters by contrast will get warmer and wetter – 6% wetter in the 2020s and 14% in the 2050s.

The Mayor’s climate change adaptation strategy, Managing Risks and Increasing Resilience explains what we need to do to help London cope with three major challenges as a result of this changing climate and weather. These are; flooding, drought and heatwaves. We’re taking action to help London adapt to these to lessen the impact and costs on London:

  • We’re helping to reduce flood risk in London through our Drain London programme.

  •  We’re helping London to cope with droughts through our water supply programmes.

  •  We’re supporting more green roofs, green walls and local green spaces to help London cope with overheating, flooding and drought.