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London Mayor, Sadiq Khan declares ‘climate emergency’

Speaking at City Hall last week, Mayor Sadiq Khan outlined the city’s new climate action plan after accusing the central government of “dragging its feet” on dealing with climate issues, according to The Guardian.

“We are in the midst of a climate emergency which poses a threat to our health, our planet, and our children and grandchildren’s future,” Khan told the Guardian. “City Hall is doing everything in our power to mitigate the risk in London but the stark reality is that we need urgent government action and funding.”

The world is finally taking climate change seriously
Global shipping titan Maersk unveiled a pledge to reduce their carbon footprint to zero, and 90 US cities and two states (California and Hawaii) have begun initiatives to get to zero carbon emissions.

In the United Kingdom, on Sunday, 100 academics, philosophers and authors wrote to The Guardian to back a new civil disobedience group – Extinction Rebellion – a call for people around the world to rise up and organize against the “paralysis” of political leaders in not taking climate change seriously.

Already, the city of Bristol has declared a climate emergency and set a goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2030, while Manchester said it would become “carbon zero” by 2038. These goals are much more aggressive than the UK’s national target of achieving an 80 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2050.

London’s existing plan, put into effect by Mayor Khan in May this year, called for the city to be carbon neutral by 2050. However, the London Assembly passed a motion last week saying that target should be brought forward to 2030 and called on Khan to draw up “a specific emergency plan”.

Green Party member, Caroline Russell proposed the motion, saying, “Catastrophic climate breakdown might be as little as 12 years away. This would have profound impacts on every aspect of our lives in London from flooding and overheating in summers, disruption in our food supply chains as well as in the wider natural world.”

London’s ambitious climate plan
London has already been working seriously to lower carbon emissions in line with the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. In June 2018, the City of London Corporation announced its intention to power the UK capital’s financial district – which is home to the Stock Exchange and the Bank of England – using electricity sourced from renewables starting in October 2018.

City Corporation has also taken on a number of environmentally-friendly initiatives, including the installation of EV charging points in the Barbican, and a trial of the UK’s first fully electric refuse truck. In the financial district, cars with zero-emissions are preferred and there have been quite a number of EV-charge stations already installed.

In 2017, the TfL, London Councils and the Greater London Authority (GLA) allocated about $5.8 million (£4.5 million) to 25 London boroughs to install Level 2 EV chargers on street lights. Each borough was to receive up to £300,000 to install up to 1,500 standard-speed on-street charging points in residential areas.

As part of Mayor Khan’s new initiative, his office will be working closely with businesses and Burrough leaders in getting this new plan up and running. As part of the plan, there will be a retrofitting of hundreds of thousands of homes and offices to make them more energy efficient, and the rollout of electric busses.

It will also require more funding and a greater partnership in the city between all parties involved. Khan said: “My message to ministers is clear – stop dragging your feet and gambling with our future and give London and cities across the UK the real powers and funding needed to protect our future generations.”

We will be looking forward to following the mayor’s initiative to its fruition.

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We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of our dear friend Karen Graham, who served as Editor-at-Large at Digital Journal. She was 78 years old. Karen's view of what is happening in our world was colored by her love of history and how the past influences events taking place today. Her belief in humankind's part in the care of the planet and our environment has led her to focus on the need for action in dealing with climate change. It was said by Geoffrey C. Ward, "Journalism is merely history's first draft." Everyone who writes about what is happening today is indeed, writing a small part of our history.

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