GUEST ARTICLE by Lina Rogers
IN A DISCUSSION about building a sustainable, liveable London, would-be Labour Party mayoral candidate Gareth Thomas claimed that the British capital was trailing behind other cities as they impressed at trying for clean energy.
That isn’t to say that London hasn’t had its succeses in controlling carbon emissions. Policies like the congestion charge have done well to minimise the number of private vehicles in the city, encouraging the use of public transport, bicycles and motorcycles, and ultimately reducing the number of traffic injuries and fatalities, according to The Guardian.
The amount of air pollution produced by the city suggests, however, that the congestion zone needs more development. One example given by Thomas was that revenue from increased congestion charges could be used to fund electric-car projects and infrastructure for residents to switch from diesel-fuel vehicles.
Among the other areas that need improvement are affordable public transport and new legislation to promote the use of renewable energy.
The latter is lacking in London and would greatly benefit from something similar to France’s environmental strategies outlined on Triple Pundit. The French Parliament recently legislated for rooftops of new commercial buildings to be covered in either plants or solar panels.
The law was France’s response to its straggling position in solar energy in Europe. London’s current status in renewable energy projects suggests that it could learn from neighbour countries, although London doesn’t seem to be the only city falling behind in clean energy investment, at a time of worldwide expenditure totalling $53 billion in the second quarter of this year, a 3 per cent drop from the first quarter and a 28 per cent drop from the second quarter of 2014.
Despite the demand for increased investment in alternative sources, small-scale solar projects are thriving in Japan, China, the US and other nations.
Chile also received notable mention in a Bloomberg press release for utilising the country’s plentiful sunshine and wind by directing $1.3 billion to solar and wind power — Chile’s greatest commitment yet to clean-energy initiatives.
This demonstrates that countries with year-round sunshine could easily switch to using renewable energy.
Yet oil and gas still remain crucial for the local Iraqi community as industrial firms such as Unaoil maintain a labour force comprising 75 per cent Iraqi workers.
* The writer studied environmentalism in Denmark. This article was commissioned and paid for by an agency outside Loving Dalston. The main picture is © Geograph. Both pix kindly supplied by Wikimedia.