Climate change is a severe problem that the world is facing. Historically, cities across the globe have and will continue to undergo drastic and potentially disastrous changes that will have damaging effects on health and infrastructure. And although figures show that out of every area in England, London has the lowest carbon emissions per person, it is still predicted that London will have a climate similar to Melbourne in three decades time though.
The legal commitment from the UK government is to achieve net-zero carbon emissions in London by 2050. London Mayor Sadiq Khan is hoping to achieve this by 2030, stating “some say that a 2030 target isn’t achievable but I say we can’t afford to not try.” This article will discuss some of the biggest contributing factors to climate change that London is facing and the ways they are being dealt with.
According to The Committee on Climate Change, “UK homes are not fit for the future”. This has a particular impact on London due to its high density. Many homes across London’s boroughs are in need of improvements to become more energy-efficient. One way of determining how a home can become more energy efficient is by undergoing a domestic Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) assessment. Our EPC London Team is available to assess your home, and from this assessment provide you with an EPC rating alongside recommendations on how to improve your home’s energy efficiency. London is hoping to introduce more local decentralised energy sources and a city-wide deployment of low carbon heating systems by 2030 to help overcome energy problems.
Many experts claim that diet is an often overlooked aspect to climate change policy. In the UK, food accounts for a large part of a household’s carbon emissions contribution. Scientists say everyone should be moving to a plant-based diet as food sourced from animals uses far more resources than food sourced from plants. There is a lack of public policy at the moment to support this but London is taking steps to change this. London is a part of C40’s Dietary Agreement and sales of vegan and vegetarian products are ever-increasing.
London produces seven million tonnes of rubbish each year. The different areas across London all have varying recycling schemes. This includes weekly general waste collection and also a collection of the six main recycling materials – glass, cans, paper, card, plastic bottles and mixed plastics. This can be confusing for residents, which can lead to errors.
Also, a multitude of food waste is thrown away by London citizens. Experts say that all households in London should have access to a weekly collection of food waste. At the moment, this doesn’t happen, but if implemented would allow for positive environmental impact.
Transport is a major contributing factor to carbon emissions for every city. London is currently trying to decarbonise its transport system as much as possible. London’s mayor wants to move away from car use and instead implement more cycling and walking, and neighbourhoods are being upgraded to make them more friendly to support this. The ultra-low emission zone in central London – where vehicles that are higher polluting than others pay additional charges – is set to expand. And although this will most likely face opposition, the existing zone has helped significantly cut pollution. There are also intentions to install more charging points for electric vehicles. Currently, there are over 200 rapid charge points installed in London, with 300 targeted for the end of 2020.
Climate change brings with it extreme weather. Recently, there has been increased flooding and extreme heat. London needs to adapt to cope with this new weather. That means more trees need to be planted to cool the atmosphere and absorb water. Currently, London has more than eight million trees. This is about 21% of the capital’s land area and the aim is to increase this coverage by 10% by 2050. New developments are also being encouraged to reduce the impact on urban heat by mitigating the use of concrete, being painted white, and having indirect shade.
Climate change is a complex global issue. We hope this article provided a helpful overview of the challenges London is facing due to it. As much as corporations and policies need to change to support zero carbon emission goals, individuals can have a high impact too. So, do your best to play your part as we move into a greener future together!