Long reads

London’s abuzz with Climate Action Week 2024

Sehrish Alikhan

Sehrish Alikhan

Reporter, Finextra

June 22-29 celebrates London Climate Action Week (LCAW), a week of events, conferences, seminars, and discussions about the future of the City of London in its approach to climate change mitigation. The events taking place all over the city this week range from panel sessions and webinars to carbon literacy workshops and park tours.

Making moves

Being one of the most cosmopolitan and dynamic cities in the world, London has already established a climate action roadmap and has funded numerous climate strategies and initiatives to drive change. However, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and thus these initiatives are still in progress for development and implementation.

Drawing from the 2023 climate action progress report, London has made significant moves in lowering scope 1 and 2 emissions and reaching net zero in city of London operations by 2027, and has taken action to reduce emissions from financial investments.

However, obstacles in the journey are building maintenance issues that release carbon, transforming the landscape of sustainable leadership, and collecting data for the Square Mile, that is tracked to reach net zero by 2040.

The UK government has estimated that £50-60 billion per year is required to fuel to the country's net zero transition. The long term plans to reorganise the green finance space involves an increase in monitoring and data collection, sector-specific policies, and reaching to private capital where regulation fails.

The CommerzVentures Climate FinTech Report 2024 released in March highlighted that climate-related start-ups attract more funding than their competitors, with Europe in the lead for fintech funding.

Policy on track

When Sadiq Khan was reelected as Mayor of London earlier this year, he launched a “new 10-point climate action plan”, and outlined a detailed roadmap to cut carbon emissions and push green politics forward by upgrading public transport capabilities, installing solar panels, and cleaning air and pollution in the city.

This contrasts to the views of the Tory candidate for Mayor of London this year, Susan Hall, who has expressed controversial views on her belief in climate change, and has pushed to delay the city’s net zero targets, labelled a “proud anti-green candidate” by her opponent.

The Labour Party has taken action to promote green investments and address climate change, outlining the need for clean power, energy reform, job generation through sustainable working, and acceleration to net zero among other initiatives.

London leads in green finance, promoting financial investments, in 2023 LCAW, Mayor Khan launched the Green Finance Fund to lend up to £500 million to projects that would bring London closer to its net zero targets.

The organisation has funded several projects to upgrade infrastructure across London, such as installing more electric charging spots for vehicles, generating a water heat pump to serve over 2000 homes in Southwark, develop a low carbon heat network to supply heating for over 10,000 new homes, and accelerating the installation of LED lights on the London Underground, to name a few.

Challenges to climate action

The Green Finance Institute, a sustainable organisation that promotes sustainable investments and drives forth the green transition in the UK. The organisation recently published a report on nature-related risk, revealing that the UK GDP could fall 12% due to nature degradation.

To catalyse green markets, private finance mobilisation is necessary in the approach to priority sectors, and allocating that capital will not be an easy task. The goal for the UK is to make emerging industries less risky for investors to attract the capital needed to fund their sustainable needs.

In 2023, London was declared on of the best cities in Europe for a career in sustainability, based on a report that analysed over 40 cities on the continent. However, in a report on the greenest cities in Europe, Stockholm takes the lead, with London not even making it to the top 15.

London is a global leader in climate action, however, there is much more that can be achieved from the government, regulators, and financial institutions to drive sustainable innovation and climate action. This London Climate Action Week lets look forward to further discussion and more green commitments from people and businesses.

To discover more about sustainable finance, check out Finextra’s annual Sustainable Finance Live conference, that will take place in London on 8 October 2024.

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