Make climate change top priority – London’s resolution

It will warm the hearts of environmentalists to hear that Ken Livingstone, London's Mayor, has vowed to make tackling climate change his top political concern this year.

The Mayor’s announcement of his public New Year’s Resolution will be followed up throughout the year by a series of initiatives designed to reduce the city’s carbon emissions and other environmental impacts.

“Climate change is our greatest global challenge and I will be announcing a series of measures in 2007 to reduce our carbon emissions,” said Mr Livingstone.

“To date we have made good headway in London, including becoming the only major city in the world to have achieved a modal shift – getting people out of the cars and onto public transport, cycling and walking.

“In 2007 we will go a step further and become the first major city to set out a comprehensive plan to achieve the serious carbon emission cuts necessary to avert catastrophic climate change.”

Alongside the Mayor’s pledge is a plea to the public to do their bit, with hoardings going up in Trafalgar Square and Parliament Square calling on Londoners to do their bit.

“If we are going to protect future generations from this threat, then 2007 has to be the year in which climate change becomes everyone’s priority,” he said.

“An important part of this will be for us all to cut our emissions at home, such as by switching to energy efficient lightbulbs, not leaving appliances on standby and using the car less.

“All it will take is for every Londoner to cut their emissions by five per cent and not only will they save money on fuel bills, but London could cut its carbon pollution by a massive two million tonnes in 2007.”

As an incentive to get involved, Londoners are being given the chance to get to the front of the queue for energy-saving initiatives as they are announced by texting CO2 along with their name, house number and postcode to 62967.

Deputy Mayor Nicky Gavron said: “Both the Mayor and I see tackling climate change as the over-riding political imperative for 2007. And we, as politicians, must lead by example.

“Cities account for over 75% of all greenhouse gases. Which is why we have formed the Large Cities Climate Leadership Group.

“Unless we reverse the emissions trend in large cities like London, we will not save the planet. We have already taken some big leaps. For 2007 the Mayor and I pledge, through our planning powers, to ensure new developments are energy efficient, and use locally generated combined heat and power as well as renewable energy.

“The London Climate Change Agency, which we recently established to spearhead the move to a local carbon London, will be rolling out its first large scale projects in 2007. We need to make 2007 the year we see real action.”

Sam Bond

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