Cities are 'doers' in tackling climate change but governments are 'delayers' - Khan

11 November 2021, 06:21 | Updated: 11 November 2021, 06:25

Sadiq Khan will use Thursday's speech to highlight the role of individual cities in tackling climate change and call on national governments to do more
Sadiq Khan will use Thursday's speech to highlight the role of individual cities in tackling climate change and call on national governments to do more. Picture: Alamy

By Daisy Stephens

The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan says cities are leading the way in tackling the climate emergency while national governments delay.

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Speaking at COP26 on Thursday, the Mayor will say that "delayers" are the "biggest obstacle" to tackling climate change and call for "urgent action now".

"For years, climate change deniers have attempted to thwart climate action," Mr Khan will say on Cities, Regions and Built Environment Day at the UN climate summit.

"But today the biggest obstacle to reducing our carbon emissions isn’t the climate change deniers, it’s the delayers.

"It’s the national governments that can talk a good game, but then refuse to put in place the plans, action or funding we desperately need."

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He will say the difference between the way individual cities and national governments are responding to the climate crisis is stark, adding: "It’s night versus day, it’s the difference between delayers versus doers.

"Compared to the slow nature of our national governments, it’s our cities that have proven to be more nimble, progressive and responsive to the needs of our citizens, rising to the challenge."

He will also say that COP26 has seen "yet more examples" of leaders making bold promises but not putting the logistics in place to enable their promises to be met.

"My message to the UK government and other nation states and businesses around the world is that these delaying tactics must stop," Mr Khan will say.

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"The time for empty rhetoric and hollow gestures is over.

"We need urgent action now – not in 20 or 30 years’ time."

Mr Khan – who is also the chair of C40 cities, an organisation of 97 cities across the globe – will outline what London has done to move towards its target of being carbon-zero by 2030, such as introducing the controversial Ultra Low Emission Zone, planting trees and introducing hundreds of zero emission buses.

But he says London’s zero-emissions target could be brought forward if it had adequate government funding.

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Polly Billington, Chief Executive of UK100, a network of local leaders, said leaders want to go "further and faster" to reach net zero emissions ahead of the national target.

"We hope they can inspire other leaders in the UK and across the world to accelerate toward a zero carbon society," she said.

"The public wants our politicians to stop delaying and act decisively to address the climate crisis."