Achieving Net Zero

achieving net zero housing development

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 28 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.

Related project: Managing London’s Exposure to Climate Change

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]

Past Achieving Net Zero events:

16 Apr 2020
Councils & the Climate Emergency webinar
Event write-up and video

14 Jul 2020
Net Zero Housing New Garden Quarter: Video Visit + Discussion
Event write-up and video

8 Sep 2020
District heating networks and decarbonisation: Video Visit + Discussion
Event write-up and video

28 Sep 2020
City Makers Forum: London’s Green Recovery
Event write-up and video

26-30 October
Achieving Net Zero Digital Conference week
All event write-up and videos

18 Nov 2020
Net Zero is Not Enough
Event write-up and video

Coming up

Early 2021
Report Launch – What’s Next for Net Zero?
A celebration of the great work that is currently underway, and a look at what more is still to be done as we work towards Achieving Net Zero

Case studies

More inspiring examples illustrating how the sector is delivering against the Net Zero ambition will be added each month

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 conference, contact Anna Odedun.

Related content

Net zero is not enough

As part of London Climate Action Week, on Wednesday 18 November, Future of London looked beyond net zero. We discussed the roles of green infrastructure and regenerative architecture, the importance of tackling both health inequalities and environmental inequalities, and how we can better involve local communities and better collaborate across sectors.

Cargo bikes

Conference write-up: Funding net zero

In the second webinar of our Achieving Net Zero Digital Conference Week, we reflected on how the public and private sectors can work together to fund the transition to a zero carbon built environment sector, and how we can make sure that the benefits and burdens of funding net zero are spread equally amongst all communities?  

Picture of recycling campaign

Conference write-up: Changing our behaviours to achieve net zero

In the first webinar of our Achieving Net Zero Digital Conference Week, we explored what the public and private sectors can do to embed holistic Net Zero thinking and drive behaviour change. This is a summary of some of the key themes and practical examples that emerged from our panel discussions and audience Q&A.

Cycle path

Achieving Net Zero Case Study: building more circular infrastructure

The circular economy is gradually gaining traction as an approach towards climate mitigation – but what does it really mean for the built environment sector? FoL’s Knowledge & Events Intern Kana Nomoto explores how Amsterdam is building more circular infrastructure.

City Makers Forum: London's Green Recovery, Olympic park image

City Makers’ Forum: London’s Green Recovery

This City Makers’ Forum invited cross-sector speakers working at the frontline of London’s recovery response to assess London’s ambitions for a green recovery. Can we capitalise on this opportunity, and pull together to leverage public support and political will, to ultimately deliver a recovery that is fair and equitable for all?

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