London’s Johnson ‘Could Do Better’ on CO2 Cuts, Panel Says

Jul 25, 2014 9:48 am ET

(Updates with mayor’s response in fifth paragraph.)

July 25 (Bloomberg) -- Mayor Boris Johnson needs to step up efforts to reduce the U.K. capital’s carbon emissions or risk missing targets, the London Assembly Environment Committee said.

The city probably won’t reach a goal of retrofitting 1.2 million homes with energy-saving measures such as insulation and double glazing, the panel said. It’s also likely to miss interim targets toward a final goal of getting a quarter of energy from local sources such as district heating programs by 2025.

“Overall, the mayor could do better,” Murad Qureshi, a Labour Party member and deputy chairman of the committee, said in the report. “Milestones have been missed in key programs like home energy efficiency and decentralized energy.”

Reducing carbon dioxide output from cities is important for efforts to rein in greenhouse gasses as more than half the world population lives in urban areas, which make up about 70 percent of energy-related emissions, according to the United Nations.

“The mayor is committed to reducing carbon emissions in the capital and is already undertaking many of the recommendations in the committee’s report,” Johnson’s office said today in an e-mailed statement. “Unprecedented work is taking place, from electric and hybrid buses and taxis, retrofitting homes and buildings, to unlocking the local energy generation market.”

London emissions fell 11 percent from 1990 to 2011, after peaking in 2000, the panel said. Johnson was elected on a pledge to cut them 60 percent in the 35 years through 2025, according to its report, awarding the mayor a four out of 10 for effort.

The mayor is ahead of target in some areas such as energy efficiency of new buildings and has helped cut traffic 11 percent from 2000, the committee said. It recommended Johnson produce a plan to decentralize energy and set guidelines for retrofitting homes and offices that help local authorities.

He should also pressure the central government to step up efforts to reduce carbon emissions from power generation and accelerate a program to insulate homes.