Ken Livingstone: I will personally tackle climate change

Ken Livingstone says he will take on the major energy providers and set up a London-wide energy co-op. (Source:Flickr/Roystonford)

As part of RTCC’s London Week, the leading candidates in the city’s Mayoral election have explained to us how they would cut emissions and make London a greener place to live.

Yesterday we heard from the Green Party’s Jenny Jones. On Thursday, the incumbent, Boris Johnson will explain why his green policies are working and what else he has planned for the city.

Today Labour’s Ken Livingstone explains how taking on the big six energy providers, cutting public transport fares and tackling energy efficiency can create a low-cost, low-carbon London.

While people are struggling with recession the Mayor’s priority has been to help reduce Londoners’ cost of living by raising their transport fares. That’s on top of his party nationally raising the cost of living through cuts and higher charges.

But my goal is also to help Londoners’ living standards to rise, while the amount of the earth’s resources we consume falls to sustainable levels.

Road transport is the fastest growing source of carbon emissions. To reverse this we have to encourage people out of their car and onto public transport, cycling or walking.

When I was Mayor previously London became the only major city in the world to achieve this. But Boris’ Johnson’s fares rises threaten future progress.

I will cut public transport fares by 7% this year and freeze them throughout 2013. Oyster single bus fares will be reduced from £1.35 to £1.20. From 2014 fares will not rise above inflation.

The costs will be met from the huge operating surplus Boris Johnson creates every year – the unplanned higher revenues caused by raising the fares year on year. Last year’s unplanned operating surplus was a staggering £700m.

Compared with Boris Johnson’s threat to keep raising fares by 2% above inflation each year, the average London public fare-payer will be £1,000 better off at the end of my four-year mayoral term.

Tackling energy efficiency

A third of all the energy consumed in London is used to provide gas and electricity to households.

Under Boris Johnson’s part-time leadership, London has lost out on £400m of national energy efficiency funding. I will call an immediate Energy Summit of the main energy suppliers to ensure that London get its fair share of the £1.3bn per year energy companies are required to spend on home insulation from 2013.

With this funding we could provide free loft and wall insulation to 400,000 homes, more than eight times the number Mayor Johnson has managed in four years with his RE:NEW scheme. On average, a household that installs proper insulation will save £150 off their heating and electricity bills.

London Energy Co-op

By harnessing the buying power of Transport for London (the biggest purchaser of electricity in London) and the rest of the Greater London Authority group of organisations, my new London Energy Co-operative will purchase energy on the wholesale markets, giving Londoners a cheaper alternative to rip-off energy suppliers. It will source as much of its energy as possible from low carbon sources, including investing in new renewable energy itself.

My commitment to cutting Londoners’ cost of living whilst making London a low-carbon city is embodied in these three policies – cut fares, increase insulation, and provide cheaper, lower-carbon home energy. We will announce others as the campaign progresses.

It may have been possible to be pleased when Boris Johnson renounced his earlier encouragement to George W. Bush to screw up the Kyoto climate treaty, and adopted my carbon targets. But he hasn’t delivered.

His big plan for a new hub airport on a wildlife site in the Thames Estuary sums up the Tory Mayor’s approach.

I will take personal charge of the drive to cut emissions because I genuinely believe tackling climate change is the duty of every elected person.

VIDEO: Ken Livingstone’s speech to the 2011 Labour Party Conference

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