London Mayor Sadiq Khan is set to become the new chair of C40 Cities, a global network of almost 100 megacities committed to addressing climate change. Announced today by C40 as its new chair-elect, there will be a handover ceremony with US Mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti at an event at COP26 on 2 November in Glasgow.
London was the founding city of C40 and has always been a vital member of the network. Collectively, the network represents over 700 million people and a quarter of the global economy. Mayor Khan’s strong commitment to action on climate change and bold ambitions for London make him an invaluable leader within C40. Sadiq was one of the first leaders in the world to declare a climate emergency and is now championing a green and sustainable recovery from the pandemic from City Hall. His candidacy as chair was supported by a record number of Mayors from across the globe – from Barcelona to Buenos Aires, Dubai to Durban and Stockholm to Sydney, and his election has been warmly welcomed by the current and former chairs of the network including former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg and Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo.
In London, the Mayor has already taken action against the climate crisis through the introduction of the world’s first Ultra Low Emission Zone, which has helped reduce toxic air pollution in central London by nearly half at the same time as helping to reduce carbon emissions. On 25 October, the zone will expand to encompass 3.8 million Londoners, and is expected to reduce road transport NOx emissions by around 30 per cent across all of London. The Mayor has also: planted 340,000 trees since 2016; introduced over 500 zero-emission buses; committed to making London a zero-carbon city by 2030, faster than any comparable city and developed a climate action plan that is compatible with the highest ambition of the Paris Agreement.
Sadiq introduced a Green New Deal for London, reflecting the principles of a global Green New Deal, as the only way to combat the climate emergency, boost London’s economy and tackle inequality. Once projects from the first £10m fund are completed, they will save up to 20,000 tonnes of CO2 per year directly and support the ability to rapidly scale up further carbon savings across London.
Through his London Plan the Mayor has achieved carbon emission reductions of almost 50 per cent more than targets set by building regulations. This was set out in his London Plan Energy Monitoring Report, which shows that his planning policies are achieving on-site carbon reduction of 44,000 tonnes of carbon a year.
Mayor Khan has served as a Vice Chair of C40 Cities since 2016, helping lead the group in committing to new targets that make cities greener. As part of this effort London has joined other cities in adopting, developing and implementing 1.5 degree climate action plans, with the Mayor of New York, he launched the C40 Divest/Invest Forum to help cities to learn from each other, confront challenges and encourage action on fossil fuel divestment. London also joined Bengaluru to lead a global partnership of 20 other world cities on tackling air pollution in urban centres. This saw city leaders come together to share ideas, nurture innovation and encourage ambition in the effort to improve air quality in cities worldwide. Sadiq will serve as chair for two years with the option of a third year, if he is endorsed by the Steering Committee.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “I would like to take the opportunity to thank Mayor Garcetti for his leadership over the last two years and the leaders of other C40 cities for their solidarity and support in addressing this urgent issue. Cities are leading the way when it comes to tackling the climate emergency and I am delighted to be elected as global chair of C40 at this critical time for our planet. As leaders representing over 700 million people and a quarter of the global economy – we must convince national governments to unleash our potential. National targets cannot be met without our help and we stand ready to accelerate action with their support.
“I am determined for London to be a world leader in tackling the twin dangers of air pollution and the climate emergency so that we can deliver a brighter future for our city – one that’s greener, fairer and more prosperous for all. That’s why I’ve committed to making London zero-carbon by 2030, faster than any comparable city, and it’s why we are delivering a climate action plan that is compatible with the highest ambition of the Paris Agreement. “I also want London to be a zero-pollution city so that no child has to grow up breathing toxic air. That’s why I’m expanding the world’s first Ultra Low Emission Zone, helping millions of Londoners breathe cleaner air.
“At this critical time for the climate, I am excited that London’s leadership will be at the heart of the C40’s global movement to help inspire, and accelerate climate action.”
“When C40 cities unite around a solution, commitment, or promise, we create momentum and a model for governments across the world to follow,” said current C40 Chair and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. “This is the single most important decade for climate action, and Mayor Khan is the right leader to carry forward C40’s mission to leverage mayors’ collective power in order to help protect our planet and lay the foundation for a more just and resilient future.”
Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris and a former C40 chair said: “Congratulations, London! For many years, Sadiq and I have worked closely together to address climate change and inequality in our own cities. He has been a dynamic C40 colleague and partner and has shown that mayors achieve much more when we work together on these common goals.”
Eduardo Paes, Mayor of Rio de Janeiro and a former C40 chair said: “I look forward to supporting the Mayor of London to drive new investment into cleaner, inclusive, healthier cities in every part of the world.”
Michael R Bloomberg, said: “Sadiq Khan’s outstanding leadership on climate change has put London at the forefront of the global effort to stop it. We are fortunate to have him accept this new role, and having worked with him on a variety of ambitious and innovative climate projects, I have enormous confidence that he will help our members continue to do more, faster – as we work to build greener, healthier, and stronger cities.”
David Miller, Former Mayor of Toronto and former C40 Chair, said: “I congratulate Mayor Khan on his election as C40 Chair. His leadership in London on meaningful climate action that improves the health, lives: and economic opportunities of residents is the kind of global leadership that is critical at this moment when these actions are needed everywhere, now. If we are to succeed in keeping planetary heating to 1.5 degrees, starting with halving global emissions by 2030, action based leadership is essential.”
Mark Watts, CEO C40, said: “I am delighted to announce the Mayor of London as C40’s new chair elect. He has shown that cities have a huge part to play in tackling climate change. As an influential global financial and economic hub, London has led by example and shown it is possible for all cities to not just tackle the climate crisis but thrive at the same time.”
Mayor Khan currently sits on the C40 board and serves on the Steering Committee as Vice Chair. He was elected vice chair for the European region in 2016. The C40 is partnering the UN’s Race to Zero campaign at COP26 in Glasgow to limit global temperature rise to 1.5C, in line with the Paris Agreement.