Sadiq Khan promises green ‘new world’ after being appointed city climate ‘king’ at COP26

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·4-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Electric buses built in Scotland for TfL on duty at COP26 in Glasgow before heading to the capital (TfL)
Electric buses built in Scotland for TfL on duty at COP26 in Glasgow before heading to the capital (TfL)

Sadiq Khan has vowed to use his new role as “king” of city mayors to tackle the climate crisis and help build a greener “new world”.

The London mayor was confirmed as chairman of the C40 group of cities that have committed to curbing to toxic air and leading the drive to zero emissions.

Passing the role to Mr Khan at a fringe event at the COP26 conference in Glasgow City Chambers on Tuesday, Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti said: “We’ve got a new king.”

Mike Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York who is a UN ambassador for progress on climate change, warned him: “You have a big challenge, Mr Mayor. We will hold your feet to the fire, you should know that.”

Ahead of Mr Khan’s confirmation, the C40 – which now has 97 core city members – announced that more than 1,000 cities had pledged to halve their emissions by 2030 and go “net zero” in terms of carbon by 2050.

Watch: Sadiq Khan boards train to Cop26 and urges leaders to 'take action now'

Mr Khan - who sported a green tie for his acceptance speech - has already said his aim is to make London net zero by 2030.

In his acceptance speech, he said the job was “certainly up there” with the emotion he felt in being elected mayor of London for the first time in 2016.

He said he had “a sense of enormous pride, in recognition of the weight of responsibility entrusted in the chair – and the impatience to get stuck in.”

An audience of city mayors applauded him as he told how he had ignored “loud voices” and pressed ahead with the expansion of the ultra low emission zone (Ulez) to the London suburbs last week, covering almost four million Londoners.

“It was too important to delay because it’s a matter of life and death,” he said. “The world has been putting off real action like this for too long. The time to act is now.”

He said two-thirds of the C40’s next annual budget would be spent on “Global South” cities which were least to blame for climate change but were most severely affected – something he said was a matter of “social justice”.

Sadiq Khan is appointed chairman of the C40 group of cities at COP26 in Glasgow (Ross Lydall)
Sadiq Khan is appointed chairman of the C40 group of cities at COP26 in Glasgow (Ross Lydall)

His Breathe London air monitoring programme will be rolled out to almost 100 cities, with targeted high-level support for seven mega-cities with the worst levels of toxic air.

He will call on governments around the world to give cities extra powers and investment to tackle climate change and to boost green economies.

“As I take the baton from Mayor Garcetti, I make this promise to you all: to lead the C40 with the same passion, ambition and determination I’ve shown in London over the past five years,” Mr Khan said.

“I’m convinced our cities can harness the ingenuity of the human spirit to help conquer the threat of global warming, and in doing so we will be able to help fashion a new world after the pandemic that has as its guiding principles equality, fairness and climate justice.

“A new world that works for the Global North and the Global South. A new world that is fit for our children and grandchildren. A new world we can all be proud of.”

On Monday night it was the famous London red double decker bus that caught the eye when 10 electric powered versions soon to start running in the capital were used to ferry delegates to a COP26 VIP event at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery.

We are electric: London’s electric buses in use at COP26, prior to arriving in the capital (TfL)
We are electric: London’s electric buses in use at COP26, prior to arriving in the capital (TfL)

The buses are built in Falkirk by Alexander Dennis. Some 550 electric buses are already in use in London, and a further 400 are on order. But Government funding is required to achieve Mr Khan’s aim of electrifying the entire 9,000-vehicle bus fleet by 2030.

Louise Cheeseman, TfL’s director of buses, said: “Our investment in clean buses has delivered more than 550 zero-emission buses in London and is helping drive forward the agenda for greener buses and create green jobs across the rest of the UK. 

“As those at COP26 will see, these zero-emission buses are efficient and comfortable as well as being environmentally friendly, and will play a part in making our whole fleet of 9,000 buses carbon-free.”

Watch: Sunak pledges to make UK world's first net zero financial centre

Read More

Homeowners cash in on COP26 as flat ‘with driver’ listed for £7,000

Johnson ‘cautiously optimistic’ of COP26 deal

Harry and Meghan’s foundation pledges to be net zero by 2030

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting