2019 has been a busy year in the City and I wanted to send an update specifically on climate matters, which have been so prominent in the media recently. The City Corporation is making progress in several areas, as well as being aware of the challenges that lie ahead.
Climate Action Plan:
There have been several protests and calls for organisations to declare a “Climate Emergency”. The City has taken the view that rather than declaring an emergency, we would come up with an action plan, which would be more meaningful and lead to direct emissions reductions in the Square Mile.
It is recognised that even the most ambitious carbon reduction scenarios will result in impacts on the climate. For us locally, that might mean higher risk of flooding and more heatwaves, as examples. Addressing these risks will position the geographical area as a resilient place to do business, in a safe and sustainable environment. It will also help us prevent adverse effects on the UK economy (e.g. the 2018 freeze cost the UK economy £1.3bn per day).
The City leads green finance and insurance globally, so reducing climate impacts and responding to these threats is seen as key to maintaining that international leading position.
Between October 2019 and June 2020 we will go through a process of robust data collection, information gathering and resource allocation to provide the basis of an executable plan of action.
This will allow us to set a trajectory to ‘zero carbon’ for the Square Mile, based on data and evidence that allows a credible base for carbon accounting practises.
In the meantime, below are some examples of actions we have already taken in the past few years:
- Driving down carbon emissions from new buildings through Planning guidelines.
- Purchasing renewable power for our own operations.
- Switching over to LED streetlights.
- Increased green infrastructure throughout the City.
- Changing traffic rights at Bank Junction and other road alterations across the Square Mile, to reduce vehicular traffic.