Zero carbon target for London

MQT on 2019-01-17
Session date: 
January 17, 2019
Question By: 
Caroline Russell
City Hall Greens
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


What steps have you taken to bring forward your zero carbon target for London?


Answer for Zero carbon target for London

Answer for Zero carbon target for London

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Thank you, Chairman.  We are in the midst of a climate emergency and the consequences of exceeding the 1.5-degree average temperature increase across the globe are significant.  That is why my team has produced one of the most ambitious climate change action plans of any major world city.  It is one of the first to be compatible with the highest ambition of the Paris Agreement of limiting the global average temperate rise to 1.5 degrees.  It includes stretching carbon budgets and its implementation will see London become zero-carbon by 2050.  This is far more ambitious than central Government.


Our pioneering strategy is underpinned by detailed data on London’s buildings and energy systems to demonstrate how our zero-carbon target can actually be achieved.  I am doing everything I can within my powers, including setting up a £500 million fund to invest in energy efficiency in the capital.  Our £34 million Energy for Londoners programme will help make London’s homes warm, healthy and affordable and its workplaces more energy efficient and will supply the capital with more local clean energy.  Our new London Plan goes further than the national Government policy by making sure all new buildings meet our zero-carbon objectives.


However, our plan highlights that as Mayor I only have power to deliver less than half the emission cuts required to make London zero-carbon.  The rest is down to the national Government.  City Hall simply does not have the funding or the powers it needs.  For example, the Government has minimum energy efficiency standards for rental properties but the policies are riddled with loopholes and are not properly enforced.  The Government needs to devolve powers to set building energy efficiency standards so that we can improve and enforce them.


London has been chronically underfunded for a decade.  The Government needs to acknowledge this and give us our fair share of Energy Company Obligation funding.


Caroline Russell AM:  Thank you.  I want to thank you for listening to the Greens and to this Assembly in taking the decision to declare a climate emergency.  I agree that you have one of the most ambitious climate action plans of any world city and I also agree that you do not currently have the powers you need.  As you say, you can only get to half of what has to be able to happen.


I just wanted to ask you about the difference between your London Environment Strategy and your zero-carbon plan.  What is different in your new zero-carbon plan compared to the original Strategy?


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Do you mean the plan published in December [2018]?


Caroline Russell AM:  Yes.


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  What we set out in the plan published in December [2018] is the additional powers that we would need.  What we did was we outlined in the Strategy actions to make London zero-carbon with a 60% reduction on 1990 levels by 2030 and a nearly 80% reduction on 1990 levels by 2040, in line with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recommendation.  The plan we published sets out the possible costs of achieving decarbonisation and it sets out what the costs were going to be and also ‑‑


Caroline Russell AM:  Sorry, Mr Mayor, can I halt you there?  Absolutely, it covers the costs that are different and it covers the powers that you need, but it is still working to 2050, which you also confirmed in your initial thing ‑‑


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  It is very important because it covers the model and the analysis.


Caroline Russell AM:  Yes, absolutely.  It has done more of the work and that is really helpful, but it is still working to 2050.  The science tells us we could reach 1.5 degrees of warming by 2030.  That is just 12 years away, it is the basis for the Assembly motion, and it is 20 years earlier than the 2050 target.  Are you planning to back up this very good extra analysis so that you can scope out the scale of what has to happen if we were to meet a 2030 target?  This is so that you can ask the Government for what you need.  You say you do not have the powers.  If you do not know what is needed to get to 2030 ‑‑


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  We do.  Sorry, but it is not a secret.  We do know what is needed.  Look ‑‑


Caroline Russell AM:  You know what is needed for 2050 to be 1.5 compatible, but not for 2030.


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  The Government is not going to get to 2050 let alone 2030.  It is one step at a time.


There are a number of points you raised.  I am glad you accept - because it is really important for this to be agreed - that we at City Hall only have powers to deliver less than half the emission cuts required to make London zero-carbon.  That is a very important acceptance that we need to accept.


We know what we need from the Government in relation to national policy, in relation to regulation, in relation to economic incentives and in relation to funding.  My point is that we have made it clear to the Government what is needed to get there by 2050, which they are not doing.  Of course we can do the work in relation to what is needed by 2030 and that work is taking place, but the point is that the Government is not even doing what is needed by 2050, let alone 2030.


Caroline Russell AM:  The Government is completely hopeless.  You definitely need ‑‑


Tony Arbour AM (Chairman):  No, Assembly Member Russell.  Your time is up.


Caroline Russell AM:  Sorry, I am totally out of time.