What do Londoners have to say about the Climate Emergency Action Plan?

On Tuesday, members of London’s Strategic Priorities and Policy Committee will hear what the public has to say about its proposed Climate Emergency Action Plan.

The plan aims to eliminate London’s greenhouse emissions by 2050

Gabor Sass teaches courses in environmental science at Western University. (Submitted by Gabor Sass)

Members of London's Strategic Priorities and Policy Committee will hear what the public has to say about its proposed Climate Emergency Action Plan (CEAP) today.

At 136 pages, the CEAP outlines a way to eliminate the city's greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. It has recommendations on how the community can reduce their individual carbon footprints from an average of 6.6 tonnes per person to 3.5 tonnes per person by the year 2030. 

Actions include phasing out oil-burning furnaces in nearly 400 homes in the city and making people less dependent on cars.

The CEAP is part of London's response to its climate emergency declaration of 2019. Three years later, it's time for Londoners to offer their own two cents on whether the plan is feasible. Here's what some are asking the committee to consider: 

Some answers have been edited for clarity and length. 

Michael Bancroft, member of Climate Action London

"This is a very detailed plan. It's 130-odd pages. A tremendous amount of work has gone into it to try and quantify the kind of reductions that are required for London to achieve its climate goals by 2030 and 2050. So there's a tremendous amount of detail in it that most people won't read. 

And so there's two things [the city] certainly has to do, I think, is to have an executive summary with some important points for what is expected of households in London. And it has to be advertised extremely widely in order to try and get people this information. They have to realize what might be expected of them in the next seven years if London has a hope of achieving its targets." 

Molly Miksa, executive director at London Cycle Link 

"London Cycle Link, as well as some other groups, want to encourage council to implement terms that would coincide with council terms so that there was a more sense of direct responsibility. We'd also like to see via the climate emergency screening tool to be used more regularly as it was done on Wonderland Road, for any significant project, for that to be the lens that is necessary to be looked through when approving projects. 

It's stated in the plan that greenhouse gas emissions come 49 per cent from vehicle gasoline -  49 per cent, so almost half. What's more clear than that? We need to get cars off the road and replace them with people biking, people walking, people taking public transport. I really hope that they pass [the plan]."

Molly Miksa is executive director at London Cycle Link. (Submitted by Molly Miksa)

Jim Kogelheide, London resident 

"Where this plan falls short is in its scope of change and how it's more of a political document than a document of actual change. One of the recommendations that I've put forward is to put these benchmarks, these time marks that they have as goals and aspirations and put them within a similar time frame as our city council comes and goes. 

And that way, each council knows we have a responsibility to accomplish this. Presently, that system is not there. And that's one of my concerns." 

Jim Kogelheide and his son, Devon, said they are passionate about raising awareness of environmental issues. (Angela McInnes/CBC)

Gabor Sass, environmental science professor at Western University 

"To me, the most important thing that we need to put the focus on is creating walkable communities. We need to create a London which consists of 20 Wortley Villages. If you can picture that, where people can easily walk to the daily, where they meet the daily needs of their lives, to the work, to the faith communities, to their community gardens. 

That also means that they are driving a lot less. They're also living in a neighborhood where mixed use is allowed, which means that you can have businesses and other types of land use
integrated with residential areas. So we need to create walkable communities. I think that's how we will reach the targets of this plan. And it is in there. But it's not coming out as clear as I would like it to."