06 Aug 5 Things to Know about London’s Climate Action Week
Guest blog written by Ruby Clarkson.
The London Climate Action week was the first of its kind in the city. It was announced by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan in response to the negative effects on global climate caused by carbon emissions and took place on the 1st to 8th of July. For the entirety of those eight days, there were several events which were headed by the best minds on climatic studies in London. The events were presentations of applicable solutions in the world to curb the giving off of carbon.
Several learning institutions and organisations have liaised with the city’s government to encourage Londoners to take low carbon actions daily. The climate action week centred on several issues like the switch to renewable energy, the adaptation of the city’s population to a zero carbon lifestyle, and transition to transportation services that emit little or no carbon.
For the past 29 years, the UK has reduced the amount of carbon emissions by 40% even though its economy has grown by about 67% since that period. London also has the largest number of low carbon jobs in the UK totalling about 246,000. The UK is doing everything it can to emit absolutely no carbon by the year 2050.
The Climate Action Week in London was declared as an emergency because of several reasons. The effects of those 8 days were quite numerous. However, only five of the reasons and effects of the climate action week will be discussed. They are mentioned below.
1. We Have 12 Years Left Before a 1.5 Degree Temperature Rise
London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan announced the Climate Action Week as an urgent situation after subsequent scientific reports showed that the problem associated with the weakening of the ozone layer is getting more serious. The UN released papers which indicated that the world has just a dozen years left before a temperature increase of 1.5 degrees Celsius. A change of that degree would change the world as we know it, particularly when it comes to natural systems. Varying places in the world would experience much hotter temperatures than an increase of 1.5 degrees Celsius. Ultimately, heatwaves would also pose more dangerous for humans and plants alike.
The Mayor reiterated this fact at the City Hall where he stated that procrastination on taking actions to prevent climate change would be similar to climate denial.
2. Aim of Cleaner Air
The Climate Action Week encouraged landlords and tenants in London to help the UK switch to a zero carbon economy. It has been found out that 80% of companies experience difficulty when trying to convince landlords to switch to renewable electricity because they think the conversion will cost a lot more. According To solar panel company, MyPower, about 30% of the total amount of energy used in Britain in 2018 was from renewable sources, chiefly from solar. This still shows that the UK is far from achieving its zero carbon emission goal.
The energy performance rating rule of April 2018 has rendered several commercial properties un-rentable because of their ‘F’ and ‘G’ ratings. About £157 billion worth of commercial properties in England and Wales can’t be rented out. Since renewable energy helps improve EPC rating, landowners are finding the use of renewable energy more attractive. The climate action week saw several London landlords pledge to use renewable energy to achieve a cleaner and healthier city.
3. Businesses Show Support for Climate Action Week
Five big companies including sportswear retailer, JD Sports Fashion, showed support for London’s climate action week by joining ER100, the world’s leading initiative towards emitting zero carbon. Derwent London, one of the companies that joined ER100, has set a goal to totally use renewable electricity by 2020. JD Sports aims to completely use renewable electricity in all its more than 900 stores by 2025.
APCOA Parking, Europe’s number one parking operator aims to upgrade its car parks to EV charging and convert all its vehicles to electric ones by the year 2030.
4. The Sale of ‘Green’ Bonds
One of the major stock exchanges in the world, the London Stock Exchange, is supporting the sale of bonds to control deforestation in the world. The climate action week featured the sale of the first green bond on the stock exchange. The sale of these bonds aim to discourage deforestation in places like Cerrado in Brazil. Forests are being cleared at a swift rate by farmers who need land to plant on. It has been estimated that 6 million hectares of the forest region in Cerrado could be lost.
To prevent this and several other deforestation issues in the world, at least $ 1 billion worth of green bonds will be sold over the next four years.
5. Enhancing AI to Prevent Climate Change
The climate action week featured a workshop attended by technology specialists and policy makers to utilise artificial intelligence in the climate crisis. The workshop, organised by AI for Good, a London-based group in artificial intelligence software firm, Element AI, was also aimed at enlightening others on measuring power plant emissions from space.
The Climate Action Week in London was declared by Mayor Sadiq Khan after UN scientific reports showed that temperatures around the world are likely to cross the threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius sooner than we think. The week featured several key events such as an AI technology workshop, the sale of the first green bond on the London Stock Exchange, and pledges by various businesses to shift to renewable electricity soon.
Ruby Clarkson is a freelance writer who is passionate about our planet and the animals that we share it with. When she is not writing, she is either out in the garden or wrapped up in a blanket with a good book. Accompanied by a bar of chocolate of course.