Climate change and weather

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.

Climate change

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 is expected to change even more, as a result of the amount of greenhouse gases we have released into the atmosphere. This will be experienced as changes to our average weather and the frequency and intensity of extreme weather.

We expect London’s summers to become hotter and drier and by the middle of the century, an average summer will be a fifth drier and an average summer’s day 3°C warmer. Heatwaves will be more likely and be even hotter. Winters, by contrast, will be milder, but wetter, with very heavy rainfall periods becoming more frequent.

The Mayor’s climate change adaptation strategy, Managing Risks and Increasing Resilience, identifies that the current risks from extreme weather - floods, droughts and heat – will become greater in the future unless we take action. The strategy sets out a range of actions, highlighting those where we are best placed to lead. These include: