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Market News

 March 01, 2007
London launches climate change plan

 London, UK -- The City of London has released a plan to cut the English capital's greenhouse gas emissions by nearly half by 2025. Mayor Ken Livingstone's Climate Change Action Plan focuses on energy efficiency, "moving from a high energy-using, wasteful economic model to one that conserves energy and minimises waste".

"The single biggest barrier to reducing London's carbon emissions is the way in which energy supplied to homes and offices is produced and distributed. Centralised electricity generation, whether through coal, oil, gas or nuclear power stations, is inherently inefficient"

However, says Livingstone, a key feature of the plan is that it does not imply a reduction in standard of living, but rather a shift to decentralized, clean power production and high efficiency technologies and practices. The focus on efficiency will deliver net financial benefits in the short-term, as well as long term emissions reductions, he adds.

London has helped to cut emissions in recent years by promoting transit and pedestrian options, and levying a charge on vehicles entering the core of the city, a move which has reduced traffic congestion and emissions.

However, scientific evidence says further action is required to make the reductions necessary to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, notes Livingstone.

Without action, the city's emissions are expected to grow from 44 million tonnes to 52 million tonnes during that time. With the new plan, London could stabilize emissions in 2025 at 60 per cent below 1990 levels, says the Mayor. This implies the city must produce 33 million tonnes less of CO2 than its current levels, an annual reduction of 4 percent.

To achieve this, the Climate Change Action Plan includes a number of measures, including measures to produce 25 percent of the city's power from local sources. A major emphasis will be placed on decentralized energy systems, particularly combined cooling heat and power (CCHP) networks.

"The single biggest barrier to reducing London's carbon emissions is the way in which energy supplied to homes and offices is produced and distributed. Centralised electricity generation, whether through coal, oil, gas or nuclear power stations, is inherently inefficient - wasting two thirds or more of its original energy input in the form of expelled heat," says the plan.

Other measures address the four major emissions sources: residential, commercial, transportation, and general energy usage.

78 over three years is pledged toward programs which include:

  • Heavily subsidised loft and cavity wall insulation to improve energy efficiency of homes, which account for 40 percent of carbon emissions.

  • Information and service campaigns to promote energy awareness

  • Incentives for the upgrade of commercial buildings

  • A 'Green Badging' system to recognize businesses that have reduced emissions

  • Building energy efficient social housing and working towards a goal of making all new homes zero-carbon by 2016.

  • Developing non-incineration energy-from-waste technologies such as anaerobic digestion, mechanical biological treatment, pyrolysis and gasification

  • Promotion of low-carbon vehicles and fuels

  • Charging cars to enter the central business area on the basis of their carbon emission levels; zero emissions cars will enter free while heavy emitters will pay a 25/day fee

According to the plan, these actions will be enough to achieve 20 million tonnes of the required reductions, and the further 13 million tons requires additional national and international action. The plan advocates carbon pricing by the national government to accelerate the deployment of new technologies which are readily available.

"The present model of high energy production and high energy waste is utterly inefficient. London, together with the rest of the world, must make a decisive shift to an economy in which energy is conserved, not wasted. By making London more carbon efficient we will cut emissions and put money back in Londoners' pockets," said Mayor Livingstone.

Cities account for approximately three quarters of global energy usage and a similar proportion of greenhouse gases. As the economic and social centers of the world, they are also at the forefront of climate change, energy usage, and resource consumption. Because of the all encompassing nature of municipal governance, cities have the power to change the manner in which these activities are carried out.

Contrary to some perceptions, cities can be very 'green' places in which to live. Manhattan for example, the most densely packed area of New York - one of the world's largest mega cities - uses half of the electricity and far less gasoline for transport per capita than the national US average. With proper investments and municipal policies, supported by federal and regional regulations, cities can further reduce energy consumption and increase the uptake of green technologies.

Read the full London Climate Change Action Plan.



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