As part of our panel for the London Climate Action Week, we discussed together with the London Boroughs of Hammersmith & Fulham, Islington and Hounslow, the various challenges that they are encountering on the road to net-zero. These are challenges encountered in London, but they are also most certainly challenges encountered universally by cities, municipalities and their climate strategists worldwide as they embark on building and implementing their plans to net-zero.
This proved to be a conversation well worth having, for the more we understand what is collectively preventing us from moving forward, the faster we can dismantle or find a way around these barriers.
Watch the full panel discussion:
Here are some of the highlights from our conversation, regarding both the challenges, but also the ways in which we can better face them going forward.
Data remains incomplete, limited and of variable quality
Climate strategists are faced with the complicated task of building evidence based plans with incomplete, limited and variable quality data.
Switching lens on data
The conversation showed that despite these drawbacks, there are also many ways in which we can improve the way we work with data.
“Rather than relying on national CO2 data, we need to think about what data sources are available to us, on a more micro level, about the changes that we are looking for. What becomes key is working action by action, and thinking for each of these projects, what are the main indicators that we will need to track those real world transitions?
One thing that is important is to have an evidence base that links real world shifts with emissions reduction. Joining the pilot with ClimateView has been important from that point of view, as it has helped us think about the size of the pie. You have 700kTons of CO2e emissions from your transport sector? Well, what does that actually look like in terms of passenger petrol vehicles? and within that, what does it mean in terms of what you target? How many of these journeys today by petrol vehicles do we want to shift to cycling, how many do we think we can shift to cycling? Moving to these real world transitions as our indicators will be critical.”
Multi-level collaboration as a major opportunity
London boroughs are lucky to have a very supportive network, with London Councils being a cross-party organization, working on behalf of London’s 32 boroughs and facilitating discussion and exchanges. But general consensus showed that there is still a lot to be done to collaborate and share knowledge more systematically, and in a less time consuming manner.