Achieving Net Zero

2018 brought one of the hottest summers and coldest winters on record, with temperatures jumping from -5°C at Heathrow in January to 21.2°C at Kew Gardens in February and up to 35.3°C in Kent during June[1]. Simultaneously, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published the Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C, setting out the urgent need to limit global temperature rise to avoid an increasingly unsafe climate, with high risk and severity of floods, droughts, extreme heat and other extreme weather conditions.

The climate crisis has never been better understood or caused more widespread concern. Businesses are analysing risks and reviewing strategies; children are on strike from school; ‘normal’ citizens stand ready to face arrest for peaceful protest; and at least 26 London boroughs have declared climate emergencies.

These developments point to an appetite for action, and London is on the front foot. In 2016, the Mayor’s London Environment Strategy exceeded national policy by committing London to becoming a zero carbon city by 2050. 2018’s 1.5°C Compatible Plan provides a road map for the way ahead, setting carbon budgets for the key areas of housing, transport and workspace.

The transition to a zero carbon London will impact nearly all aspects of life: from the design and planning of the homes and neighbourhoods we live in, the infrastructure we build, fuel and use, to the frequency and mode by which we travel, and the commodities and waste we produce and dispose of.

In leading the transition, London’s built environment professionals have a key role to play. From planning for resilience through connecting buildings to clean heat networks and encouraging behaviour change, Future of London’s network is on the front line, and cross-sector, cross-discipline, cross-party working will be key to securing London’s sustainable future.

In numbers
68,499 London homes at risk from a 1 in 30-year surface water flood event
80% Londoners experienced overheating in their homes in 2015
1/4 London’s Overground rail stations at risk from a 1 in 30-year flood event
3.5  Working days lost per year with a 3°C rise[1]
650 More deaths than average during UK’s 2018 heatwave[2]
Climate risk is financial risk: a 5°C warming could result in £5.45trn in losses – more than the total market capitalisation of the London Stock Exchange.[3]

Related project: Managing London’s Exposure to Climate Change


16 Apr 2020, 9:30-11 am
Council & the Climate Emergency webinar
Watch the video here

Upcoming events

Get involved

We’re keen to connect with organisations involved in delivering sustainable, net zero, or adaptation schemes throughout London. If you have experience to share or are interested in partnering with us on this project, contact Anna Odedun.

Related content

Future London Leaders 24: Proposals for London

Future London Leaders 24 wrapped up in mid-June with candidates presenting their Proposals for London in interactive webinar format. A virtual audience of colleagues, mentors, sponsors, alumni and course contributors tuned in to cast their votes from home.

Councils & the climate emergency

More than 200 attendees joined FoL for the launch of its Achieving Net Zero programme to explore what the climate emergency means for local authorities and housing associations, and what the wider sector can do to support them.