London leaders lauded
Leaders of London have received an award for their efforts to ensure the city takes responsibility for its own impact on the climate and address its emissions.The Mayor of London Ken Livingstone and Deputy Mayor Nicky Gavron have been given the award by the Climate Group in recognition of steps taken to reduce the city's environmental footprint.
The award comes just days after environmentalists saw hope in the fact greater decision-making power could be devolved to London (see related story).
The Low Carbon Champions Award was presented to Nicky Gavron by Steve Howard, chief executive of the Climate Group at City Hall on Thursday, December 1.
It is one of ten awards from the Climate Group for individual achievers who have made an outstanding contribution to combating climate change.
According to the Climate Group the Mayor and his deputy have made it clear that tackling climate change and making London an exemplary, sustainable world city is a key priority.
Since the Mayor came to office, London has seen a modal shift from cars onto buses and trains, action to reduce emissions from the Greater London Authority Group and the creation of a Climate Change Agency for London.
The Mayor and Deputy Mayor recently initiated and hosted the C20, a Summit for 20 major cities from across the developed and developing world to exercise leadership in reducing emissions.
They are also working to make London a Low Emission Zone.
Ken Livingstone said: "I am proud to be honoured in this way by the Climate Group. Climate change is the biggest challenge facing the planet and governments of today have a responsibility to future generations to act now to cut carbon emissions.
"I have no doubt that it will be cities which lead the way in taking the innovative and difficult steps needed to achieve this. I would like to thank my deputy, Nicky Gavron, who deserves much of the credit for this award.
"She has worked tirelessly to place climate change at the centre of the political agenda in London, including setting up a Climate Change Agency for London."
Nicky Gavron Deputy Mayor of London said: "Cities have a key responsibility to act now on climate change, 50% of people in the world already live in cities and 75% of the world's energy is used by cities.
"The Mayor and I are both dedicated to ensuring that London takes a lead in reducing our emissions.
Steve Howard, Chief Executive of the Climate Group said: "Mayor Livingstone and Deputy Mayor Gavron have shown true leadership on climate change, investing political capital and delivering real change from congestion charging to the Climate Change Agency.
"I have no doubt that history books will recognise their contribution, but with this award we would like to recognise them now and inspire others to follow their lead."
Other award winners included actor-turned-governor Arnold Schwarzenegger for his 'resolute agenda on climate change', multinational megacorp DuPont for cutting its greenhouse gas emissions by 72% since 1990 and the town of Woking for achieving similar success on a municipal scale.
"These awards are a clear recognition of how important leadership is in tackling climate change, "said Dr Howard.
"These are the best examples of companies, cities, states and individuals who have taken a dynamic and pro-active approach to the issue.
"They have seen that the solutions to climate change are possible, available and cost effective. Our global future will be driven by a low carbon economy, and those already embracing this future are reaping the benefits."
By Sam Bond
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