A global financial hub, the Greater London Authority is reaping the benefits of going zero-carbon, while protecting its growing population from the impacts of climate change and water scarcity.
Sat on the winding banks of the River Thames, London is home to over eight and a half million people. It has the highest population density in the UK and another three million are expected to call the city home by 2050.
Faced with this growing population, London has a looming crisis. The city sits in the region with the lowest rainfall in the UK, and is vulnerable to both drought and flooding as climate impacts worsen.
By 2050, London could see a daily water deficit of 520 million liters.
In a bid to build resilience, London is taking action with a citywide water security strategy aimed at reducing pressure on supply, while preparing for future disruption.
London’s strategy includes:
- Identifying new sources of supply;
- Reducing leakage from the distribution network;
- Installing smart meters and testing demand reduction incentives;
- Improving efficiency in the home and workplace; and
- Reviewing drought emergency plans.
Zero carbon action plan
Water is not the only challenge London is tackling; the city also has ambitious plans to combat climate change. London is going beyond the UK’s national target to cut greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050 (on 1990 levels), and in line with what climate science shows is necessary, London has pledged to go zero-carbon by 2050.
This lofty ambition will need action in all key sectors; buildings, transport, energy and finance, and the work has already begun.
Through the Mayor’s Business Energy Challenge, London is inviting its large business to report their carbon emissions – awarding those with the highest reductions – while the RE:NEW program aims to upgrade the city’s housing stock with energy efficiency measures and insulation. The ongoing scheme has already retrofitted 100,000 homes.
Meanwhile, the London Green Fund has been set up to invest in schemes that will cut the city’s emissions, with all repaid investments being channeled back into new ‘green’ initiatives. The £110 million invested in the fund is expected to leverage up to £1 billion of investment in carbon reduction programs.
With increasing investment, London’s sustainable economy is booming. In the two years to 2014, the Low Carbon and Environmental Goods grew 6% year on year, with this growth expected to continue to the end of the century, showing that, for London, protecting a growing population and securing economic opportunities go hand in hand.