As we work to rebuild our city after the pandemic and strive to deliver a brighter future for Londoners, we must be clear that a strong recovery and a “green recovery” are not mutually exclusive. They are one and the same.
The climate sceptics say that now is not the time to focus on green issues, given the immediate challenges we face. But they’re wrong. In fact, the opposite is true – because not only will a green recovery help us tackle the climate emergency and reduce air pollution, but it will boost our economy and create the green-collar jobs our communities need now more than ever.
That’s why, under my leadership, City Hall has already launched the first part of a Green New Deal for London, with £10m invested in projects to boost green jobs, tackle the climate emergency and address inequalities. And if I’m re-elected on 6 May, my Green New Deal will spend an additional £20m in each of the next two years.
This will help us support over 170,000 green jobs across our capital. These are good, high-quality jobs in future proof industries, such as jobs in the solar industry, jobs helping to electrify our bus fleets, jobs expanding our electric car charging infrastructure, and many more.
My plans for a second term also include launching a green skills academy to support sustainable and well-paid green jobs, working to double the size of the green economy by 2030.
All of this will build on the bold, ambitious and world-leading green initiatives I’m proud to have already put in place as mayor in my first term. For example, I have introduced the world’s first ultra-low emission zone for the most polluting vehicles in central London, which has already helped to cut air pollution by almost a half.
I have also declared a climate emergency and increased protected cycle lanes fivefold. I was the first mayor of a global city to commit to becoming zero-carbon by 2030, faster than any comparable city. I have developed a climate action plan that is compatible with the highest ambition of the Paris Agreement. And I have divested GLA pension funds from fossil fuels down to 0.06 per cent.
For the sake of both our future prosperity and our environment, I know that we must continue to deliver these kinds of world-leading green initiatives as we work to put the dark days of the pandemic behind us and deliver the brighter future Londoners deserve.
I am the only candidate who can win who is committed to doing exactly that. This election is a two-horse race and the choice is stark. It’s between me, who will lead from the front on delivering a green recovery, and the Tory candidate, who is in denial about the climate emergency, who wants to see a car-led recovery and who has opposed my measures to reduce air pollution over the past five years.
That’s why I’m asking all former Green Party voters, and anyone who cares about tackling the triple threats of air pollution, the nature emergency and the climate emergency, to lend me their vote. This will help us to ensure that we don’t waste this crucial moment to reshape London as a greener, healthier and more sustainable city.
Sadiq Khan is the mayor of London
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