London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, has declared a climate emergency and urged the UK government to do more to avert an ecological breakdown that he says poses an existential threat to future generations. Speaking as City Hall outlined its new climate change plan, Khan said he was implementing measures to protect people from floods, fires and the political upheaval caused by climate change. He accused central government of “dragging its feet” on dealing with these issues. “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 acknowledgement of the scale and nature of the ecological crisis by the leader of one of the world’s major cities comes amid growing concern about the impact of climate change. A succession of scientific reports have laid bare the scale of the unfolding disaster, including one from the UN that said there were only 12 years left to avert the most extreme consequences of climate breakdown. Khan’s intervention follows that of civic leaders in the UK and around the world. Last month Bristol declared a climate emergency and set a goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2030, while Manchester said it would become “carbon zero” by 2038. Both are more ambitious than the UK’s national target of an 80% reduction in emissions by 2050. It follows similar moves by several US cities. London’s existing plan, unveiled by Khan in May, was for the city to be carbon neutral by 2050. But last week the London Assembly passed a motion saying that target should be brought forward to 2030 and called on Khan to draw up “a specific emergency plan”. Caroline Russell from the Green party, who proposed the motion, said it was crucial Khan backed a more radical target and called on the government to give him the appropriate powers and funding. “Catastrophic climate breakdown might be as little as 12 years away,” she said. “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.
Guardian 11th Dec 2018 read more »