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London mayor seeks greater power over building carbon emissions

Sadiq Khan has demanded that city authorities are able to set stricter carbon reduction targets for their buildings as the first London Climate Action Week begins

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has demanded greater powers for city authorities to set stricter carbon standards for its buildings as part of calls for stronger government intervention on climate change.

Mr Khan’s calls reflect the growing pressure facing the building services sector in looking at new approaches to providing key functions such as heating and cooling that will be better able to mitigate or offset carbon emissions.

The mayor has today launched the inaugural London Climate Action Week campaign with a call for the UK government to declare a ‘climate emergency’ and establish a comprehensive new green deal policy to transform buildings, infrastructure and transport in the country.

Theresa May used one of her last acts as prime minister to introduce legislation last week committing the UK to realising net zero carbon emissions within 31 years. The move is anticipated to drive action on transforming how buildings operate and are designed.

With the net zero emissions now enacted in law, London’s mayor argued that previous efforts by organisations and politicians to disavow the impact of carbon emissions on climate change had been shown to be on the wrong side of history.

Mr Khan warned that with the Conservative party set to choose a new leader and prime minister later this month, concerns remained over the possibility that drastic action to try and tackle carbon output in ley factors such as building services could be hindered or restricted.

He said, “The biggest obstacle is the climate change delayers. On the face of it, these individuals may sound more reasonable – but their agenda is equally as threatening and pernicious as the one peddled by the deniers.”

“They say we must act, but then they refuse to put in place the plans, action or funding we desperately need – often citing the costs to business and consumers as their pretext when we know the costs of not acting are far greater and far graver. We need to hold these climate delayers to account and put pressure on the next prime minister to urgently show real leadership.”

Mr Khan’s administration has previously declared a climate emergency in London as part of a move to expand a focus among industry, NGOs, community organisations and other groups to try and pool expertise on addressing adverse change in the earth’s climate.

The mayor said that the UK should seek to reverse decisions to end solar tariffs and strengthen commitments to renewable energy production in order.

He also has backed an increase in devolved powers so authorities in London can establish its own targets to carbon policy for buildings and transport.

Polly Billington, director of the UK100 network, an organisation that represents a range of cities and local authorities that are committed to transforming to 100 per cent clean energy, added that ensuring sufficient political will and finance was a much bigger hurdle to carbon neutrality than technical challenges.

She said, “Getting clean energy schemes ‘investor ready’ is exactly the role government at all levels should play in transforming our energy system. We will all benefit now: clean energy is cheaper now than most fossil fuels and doesn’t pollute our air either. And local schemes aren’t just a ‘nice to have’ addition but essential to making a resilient energy system fit for the future.”

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