European cities pledge to cut carbon

A coalition of European cities have formalised plans to work together to reduce their contribution to climate change.

The Covenant of Mayors sees cities sign up to making deeper carbon cuts by 2020 than are currently required by the EU.

London is among the cities to have adopted the new goals, though City Hall had already set a goal of reducing the capital’s emissions by 60% by 2025, I greater target than that set by Europe.

Signing the Covenant also gives cities more leverage when it comes to tapping into the billions of Euros of funding available for carbon reduction programes.

Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, said: “I want London to become a leading low carbon city in Europe helping to create jobs in new green industries and save money off energy bills. To underline my commitment, I have agreed that London should formally join together with other European cities on our existing work to tackle climate change.

“By working in partnership, cities can share the best of our ideas and save money for our residents by take advantage of our collective clout when procuring new services and technologies.”

The Deputy Mayor of London, Richard Barnes, added that co-operation and learning from each other’s success was a win-win for citizens and the climate.

“It is common sense that we take steps to work with cities across Europe so we can help each other fast track our existing programmes to tackle climate change,” he said.

Meanwhile a practical step towards the Mayor’s plans for greening London took place on the streets of the capital this week, with the planting of the first of 10,000 trees promised shortly after his election.

The trees have been funded through efficiency savings – primarily from cash clawed back by the scrapping of the City Hall published newspaper, the Londoner.

Mr Johnson planted one of the first trees during a photo call in Islington.

“I have made it a top priority that we make our city a more attractive place to work, live and visit and reversing the decline of street trees is one way for us to do this,” he told press.

“I cannot think of a more uplifting way to usher in the spring than the arrival of these brand spanking new trees.

‘This is just the first phase of my programme to make our communities leafier by, during my term of office, planting over 10,000 street trees in areas that have the least.”

Sam Bond

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