This week, our sustainability team has been attending events across the capital for London Climate Action Week, the largest independent climate gathering in Europe. The different events bring together climate professionals, businesses, NGOs and politicians to explore climate change solutions which will drive global action.
It is projected that by 2050, about 68% of the global population will reside in urban areas, representing an additional 2.5 billion people. Cities are also responsible for about 70% of global greenhouse gas emissions and are particularly vulnerable to climate change impacts such as flooding, heatwaves, and air pollution. However, cities also offer unique opportunities for climate action and innovation due to their concentrated populations, infrastructure, and governance structures, and economic activities. London Climate Action Week showcased some of these opportunities such as setting a bold 2030 carbon neutrality target, implementing an ultra-low emissions zoning policy, and green building and energy efficiency regulations.
Technology has understandably been a key focus at this year’s event with discussions around how smart cities / cities of the future can combat some of the climate crisis that they typically see, such as air pollution, smog and flooding. AI and the opportunities it offers has also been a central theme, for example using AI and data to better model climate scenarios and address biodiversity impacts on infrastructure. London has also demonstrated the importance of collaboration with all the London councils working closely together to create a model for other cities around the world to replicate.
As this week demonstrates, London is one of the leading cities in using climate innovation and clean technology to drive large scale action. In recent years, it has also been the base for our smart transport testing as we work with our partner, the Smart Mobility Lab in Woolwich, to explore and test how we can push forward a smarter and greener transport system using our lightning-fast 5G mobile connectivity. Our testing includes looking at how we can monitor air quality and pollution levels for each journey and identify the most efficient routes that will create the least amount of pollution – effectively reducing air pollution in congested areas. With the transport sector accounting for around a quarter of CO2 emissions, this work is key in preventing pollution damage, not just in London but in cities all around the world. Through smart transport systems and scaling up the adoption and infrastructure of electric vehicles, significant emissions reductions can be achieved. This is why we committed to electrifying our entire fleet by 2025.
We continue to look at ways in which we can use technology and our services to drive climate change and live more sustainably. Last year we launched the Better Connections Plan, our sustainability strategy which reflects our long-term commitment to reduce our impact on the environment, deliver a greener network and champion the role of mobile in delivering a more sustainable future, discovering new ways to tackle global climate issues using technology.
Our Better Connection Plan focuses on three areas:
Read our Better Connections Plan here