Majority of Londoners at public meeting for city's climate plan want it approved 'as soon as possible'

The London Environmental Network turned to the public to get their take on the proposed climate plan to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. 76 per cent of people in attendance said in a poll that they want the plan approved "as soon as possible.”

There was concern about the implementation of the plan, if passed

Skylar Franke is the executive director at London Environmental Network, who hosted the Mar. 14 public meeting. (Isha Bhargava/CBC)

The London Environmental Network turned to the public to get their take on the City of London's proposed climate plan to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. Seventy-six per cent of people polled at their virtual meeting said that they want the plan approved "as soon as possible." 

The interactive meeting held by the environmental non-profit via Zoom on Monday saw about 50 attendees at its peak.

The city's draft climate emergency action plan recommends a number of major changes for Londoners in an effort to go green, including lowering household emissions in the city by 26 per cent for some low income families by 2030, and by 70 per cent for higher income families.

"I feel optimistic that it will pass," said Molly Miksa, who was in attendance, but she was concerned about its implementation. 

"They can go ahead and pass it," she said. "It doesn't mean that they're going to take it seriously." 

"Yeah, this is the plan, and we need to make sure that there's an implementation for the plan," said Leah Derikx, the operations manager with the London Environmental Network, who was facilitating one of the breakout groups with attendees. "And kind of holding people accountable for it."

Potential obstacles

According to another in-session poll, attendees felt that the top things standing in the way of climate action in the city are "pressure from the development community," "infrastructure and/or service availability to support individual's behaviour changes," and "a car-centric culture." 

Ninety-three per cent of attendees also said they'd be up for making lifestyle changes to accommodate the plan, which suggests reducing household emissions by relying less on vehicles, improving insulation in homes, and cutting back on food waste.

In 2019, households in London, on average, produced 10.5 tonnes of emissions every year. The city declared a "climate emergency" that same year, requesting a report that led to the subsequent draft plan. It was created with the input of 2,700 Londoners.

Also in attendance at the virtual forum were speakers from Oneida Nation of the Thames, the City of London, and Pillar Nonprofit Network. 

The city will be hosting a public participation meeting on April 5. The plan will then go back to council for final approval of goals and targets.