Catherine McGuinness: It’s time to act over our changing world


Scientific evidence tells us that the climate is already changing and that we need to act now if we are to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees and avoid the more extreme effects on our environment.

Last week the City of London Corporation launched its commitment to fighting back, unveiling a plan to achieve net zero carbon emissions for the whole Square Mile by 2040 – 10 years earlier than the national goal. No other major global financial centre foes this far.

We’ve agreed on a radical, ambitious Climate Action Strategy which will tackle climate change, build the climate resilience of the Square Mile and support the achievement of net zero carbon emissions right across the City.

This plan will make the Square Mile a global leader in the fight against climate change. This long-term work will improve quality of life in the City of London for workers, residents and visitors by improving their heath and air quality.

Founded on science-based targets, our Climate Action Strategy sets out goals for the next two decades with an action plan which will be beneficial to all. This work will open up a range of employment opportunities for City residents and indeed all Londoners by creating 800 green jobs.

We will update City planning regulations to ensure new developments include carbon reduction plans in their designs and encourage more sustainable buildings including green roofs and walls.

We will develop a new Climate Action Fund which will see the City Corporation and other large businesses in the Square Mile combine financial resources and skills co-invest in low or zero-carbon technologies that will lead to decreasing carbon emissions across the City.

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Residents and workers will benefit as more street space is dedicated to walking and cycling in the City, with wider pavements, new parks, timed street closures and flood-resistant road surfaces installed.

And we will invest £2million in carbon removal by introducing historic sustainable land management practices in our open spaces in the Square Mile and wider London.

We do not need to compromise the economy to fix the environment: this project will drive growth and jobs.

I am confident that this plan will ensure that the City will build back from the global pandemic to be greener, fairer, more resilient, and low carbon.

We have a credible, funded plan to deliver this and we know this is achievable. As part of the strategy, the City Corporation itself has committed to achieving net zero by 2027 for our own operations and 2040 in our investments and across our supply chain.

We will link our investments to the Paris Agreement goals and to ensure that fighting climate change is at the heart of all our decisions. And we will improve energy efficiency in our own buildings and work with the whole Square Mile to speed up the transition to a net zero economy.

Climate change directly impacts everyone. We need to prepare for it, and we have to act now. This is about boosting our economy, protecting our natural and built environment and tackling climate change head on.

Together we will build a greener City, where we all play our part.

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