London should listen to the experts on climate change

11 March 2015

The London Assembly today urged the Mayor to act on warnings from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) about the dangers of climate change to London’s population.

A motion agreed by Assembly Members calls on the Mayor to ensure that the IPCC’s advice is reflected in his economic, social and environmental policies and programmes.

The IPCC said:

Continued emission of greenhouse gases will cause further warming and long-lasting changes which will increase the likelihood of severe and irreversible effects for people and ecosystems.

Limiting climate change would require substantial and sustained reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

Substantial emissions reductions over the next few decades can reduce climate risks in the 21st century and beyond.

 

The Assembly also highlighted the warning given by the Chair of the IPCC that “we have little time before the window of opportunity to stay within the 2°C of warming closes”.

 

Jenny Jones AM, who proposed the motion said:

“I believe the science on climate change could hardly be clearer, so I am glad this motion has been agreed. I want the Mayor to recognise the extent of the agreement that human activity is changing our climate, the urgency of tackling the problem, and the leadership he can provide in the lead up to the international climate conference in Paris later this year.”

 

Nicky Gavron AM, who proposed an accepted amendment of the motion, said:

“London needs to regain the role it once had as a world leader in tackling climate change. When we set out to become that world leader, we realised we couldn’t work in isolation and set up the C40 Cities climate leadership group to collaborate to cut carbon.

“London is growing rapidly, but the world is urbanising even faster. Through the C40, we need to collaborate with other large and mega cities across the world. We need to weigh every decision, every policy, and every action against climate change – how far will it reduce CO2, and will it make the city more resilient?

“The IPCC is right to stress that urgency is the name of the game. We’re just entering a very short window of time when the world must implement decarbonisation programmes to avoid dangerous levels of climate change.”

 

The full text of the amended motion is:

“This Assembly recognises the statement from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in its Fifth Assessment Report, that:

Human influence on the climate system is clear, and recent anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases are the highest in history.

Recent climate changes have had widespread impacts on human and natural systems.

Continued emission of greenhouse gases will cause further warming and long-lasting changes in all components of the climate system, increasing the likelihood of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems.

Limiting climate change would require substantial and sustained reductions in greenhouse gas emissions which, together with adaptation, can limit climate change risks.

Substantial emissions reductions over the next few decades can reduce climate risks in the 21st century and beyond, increase prospects for effective adaptation, reduce the costs and challenges of mitigation in the longer term, and contribute to climate-resilient pathways for sustainable development.

This Assembly also recognises the warning given by the Chair of the IPCC that “we have little time before the window of opportunity to stay within the 2°C of warming closes”.

This Assembly calls on the Mayor of London to fully reflect the Fifth Assessment Report and its urgent call for action in his economic, social and environmental policies and programmes for London for the remainder of his term of office.”

Further, this Assembly notes the pioneering role that the Greater London Authority played in establishing the C40 Cities Group, with the aim of taking action at the city level to achieve measurable reductions in both greenhouse gas emissions and climate risks. Given that the IPCC’s report notes that many global risks of climate change are concentrated in urban areas[1], this Assembly calls on the Mayor to work closely with his colleagues in city government across the globe to translate the findings of the report in to discernible action in London and beyond.

 

Notes to editors

The motion was agreed by 15 votes for to 3 against.

Watch the full webcast.

Jenny Jones AM and Nicky Gavron AM who proposed and amended the motion are available for interviews. Please see contact details below.

As well as investigating issues that matter to Londoners, the London Assembly acts as a check and a balance on the Mayor.

 

For media enquiries, please contact Mary Dolan on 020 7983 4603. For out of hours media enquiries, call 020 7983 4000 and ask for the London Assembly duty press officer. Non-media enquiries should be directed to the Public Liaison Unit on 020 7983 4100.