Reducing carbon emissions from London's homes (Supplementary) [1]

Session date: 
November 18, 2015
Question By: 
Jenny Jones
Organisation: 
City Hall Greens
Asked Of: 
The Mayor

Question

Jenny Jones AM:  Mr Mayor, I have been listening to your answers and I am actually quite concerned - I want to take you back to Paris and the talks - that you do not really get the urgency of climate change.  You have talked about your ambitious projects, but actually I would say they are quite small-scale when you look at the size of the problem.

Mark Carney, who is Governor of the Bank of England, does not agree with your dinosaur colleagues.  Can I call them ‘dinosaurs’?  Is that OK?  I think it is all right, is it not?

Tony Arbour AM (Deputy Chairman):  It is not a rude word, is it?

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  The world was a lot hotter when they were around, by the way.  The world was a lot hotter when the dinosaurs were around and they coped with it.

Jenny Jones AM:  Your dinosaur colleagues here do not and cannot understand that climate change is happening and that we need to have urgent measures in place.  Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank of England, said that he hoped people like Lloyds [of London] were anticipating broader global impacts on property, migration and political stability, as well as food and water security.  That is the sort of thinking that you need to take to Paris.  This is a big problem that will affect us all and we need some urgent measures.

Answer

Answer for Reducing carbon emissions from London's homes (Supplementary) [1]

Answer for Reducing carbon emissions from London's homes (Supplementary) [1]

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  Look, certainly, there are huge issues of water security and that is one of the big issues that face the world.  Climate change is obviously a very, very important issue.  We have to do everything in our power to reduce CO2 emissions and we are.

Jenny Jones AM:  Great.  That was a good answer.  I will make a note of it.  Let us talk about something positive that you could do.  For example, you have acknowledged that you do not want to go down the divestment line and you do not want to urge the LPFA and so on.  However, you could encourage it to use its funding to support more energy schemes in the renewables sector.

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  No, I just want to go back.  When you say that, the pension fund authorities have a duty to their pensioners to invest in the things that they think are going to produce a return and will not leave their pensioners in destitution in their old age.

Jenny Jones AM:  Of course, but you know ‑‑

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  I do not think anybody would expect me to go to them and say, “Listen, someone has come up with an absolutely brilliant idea to make moonbeams out of cucumbers.  What you have to do is invest in it and that will reduce climate change”.  That is not the function of a politician.

Jenny Jones AM:  All right.  Let me take you back to something you have said already this morning because I do not quite get your logic.  You said that solar is getting generally cheaper, which is quite true with the cost of the electricity generated and the cost of the installation.

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  I am going to use it.  I am really excited by this.  Is it really true?  Is it worth--

Jenny Jones AM:  However, what is happening with the withdrawal of the subsidies is that a lot of renewable companies are going under.  We are losing jobs.  We are losing industrial practices because of the withdrawal of the subsidies; yet the latest estimate for the cost of the [expansion to the] Hinkley Point nuclear power plant is £17 billion.

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  I am with you there.  I am totally with you on that one.  It is a disgrace.

Jenny Jones AM:  Actually, we do not subsidise something that is going to make electricity cheaper but we do subsidise something that is going to make it much more expensive.

Tony Arbour AM (Deputy Chairman):  What about fracking?

Jenny Jones AM:  That seems to be very illogical.  Shut up, Tony.  You sit there ‑‑

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  Look, if you have to ask me whether I think the deal on nuclear power looks like good value for money at £95 per kilowatt hour for 30 years or whatever it is, it looks like an extraordinary amount of money to spend.

However, to get back to my earlier point, we have been left in a very difficult position by previous Labour administrations with our energy supply and we need to have security of supply.  Nuclear has to be part of the mix.  It will not be the whole solution but it has to be part of it.  In an ideal world, we would have more nuclear physicists than France or Korea, but unfortunately we have to rely now on technicians from those countries to get our plants going and that is a shame.

Jenny Jones AM:  Let me bring you back on track because you are meandering slightly.

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  It adds greatly to our costs that we do not have the relevant expertise in nuclear energy.

On other renewables - because nuclear is not a renewable - solar is very exciting and it is great that the costs are coming down.  As I said earlier on laboriously in my answer to ‑‑

Jenny Jones AM:  Please do not repeat it.  That is not fair.

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  I will.  You have asked for it.

Jenny Jones AM:  No.  Let me ask you a question that you can say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to because I am running out of time.

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  Go on.  Yes or no.

Jenny Jones AM:  Do you support the extra taxes on flights and car journeys that [Sir Howard] Davies [former Chair, Airports Commission] and TfL say will be required to reduce the carbon emissions for airport expansion?  Do you support those taxes?

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  Sir Howard Davies and the Airports Commission?

Jenny Jones AM:  Yes.  They are saying that they are going to have to put extra taxes on flights and car journeys.  Do you support that?

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  Certainly, it will be necessary to have a congestion charge around Heathrow in order to cope with the traffic impacts ‑‑

Jennette Arnold OBE AM (Chair):  The Green Group is out of time.

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  ‑‑ that will be caused by having a third runway, which would be a catastrophic policy.

Jenny Jones AM:  What about expanding airports and building big new roads?  Do you think that is a bad idea as well?

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  Actually, expanding ‑‑

Jennette Arnold OBE AM (Chair):  No, the Green Group is out of time.

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  You do not want my answer?

Jenny Jones AM:  You can answer.

Jennette Arnold OBE AM (Chair):  No, he cannot.  Let us move on to the next question.