The mayor of London Ken Livingstone and deputy mayor, Nicky Gavron, joined the Christian Aid Cut the Carbon march on Monday (01 October 2007) and walked with the team of climate change activists along the More London Plaza, on the penultimate day of their 1,000 mile march.
Mayor of London Ken Livingstone said: ‘I would like to welcome the Christian Aid campaigners to London. The Cut the Carbon march has brought together campaigners from both the developed and developing world standing shoulder to shoulder to make it clear that we in the wealthiest countries in the world cannot sit by and watch our carbon emissions spiral out of control, while those in the global south increasingly suffer the consequences of climate change. I am pleased to be here today to show my support for their efforts.’
As she welcomed them to the city, the deputy mayor said: ‘The Cut the Carbon march is highlighting that we need to take urgent action now to tackle climate change.
‘Although the majority of carbon emissions are pumped out from the developed world, it is the poorest parts of the world which are already experiencing the most devastating impacts of climate change.
‘In London we have set a target to cut our emissions by 60 per cent by 2025 and I am pleased to welcome the Christian Aid campaigners to London.’
The Cut the Carbon march is the longest protest march in UK history. A team of 18 marchers – from the UK and developing world - have walked from Northern Ireland to London and en route lobbied local people, MPs and businesses with the message ‘Cut the Carbon.’
Simon White, 20, a marcher from East Ham, London and student at the University of East London told the mayor that London should set an example on reducing carbon emissions for the rest of the world. He added: ‘This could be a great opportunity for investment in the City of London to go a lot greener.’
Rosalia Soley, 22, from El Salvador said climate change is affecting her country severely. She said climate change was increasing poverty and leaving people in her country more vulnerable and that it was necessary to take action to stop this.
She said the march had been important, enabling people to join and demonstrate their concern – just as people can prevent climate change by taking action together.
Mr Livingstone and Nicky Gavron were flanked by Simon and Rosalia when he led the march along More London Plaza toward HMS Belfast carrying a Cut the Carbon banner.
The marchers are calling on the UK government to commit to a UK cut of at least 80 per cent in carbon emission by the year 2050 in the Climate Change Bill. They want businesses to publish their emissions annually and reduce their emissions by five per cent year on year.
Earlier on Monday (Oct 1) the marchers met senior Bishops at Lambeth Palace – among them the Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu, who welcomed them on behalf of the Archbishop of Canterbury.
In the cassock in which he has marched hundreds of miles, Bishop Geoff Davies of South Africa, a coordinator of the Southern African Faith Communities Environment Institute and a marcher urged the bishops to focus on the issue of global warming.
He said: ‘I strongly encourage the Bishops to support Christian Aid’s call for Climate Justice and Cutting the Carbon. Climate Change is affecting the poorest countries most severely. As Christians we have a duty to stand up for the poor and seek justice for all.
Britain – and the North – started climate change with the industrial revolution – burning coal in Britain and oil in America. Britain now has to lead the way in turning this global energy catastrophe around.’
Earlier, a delegation from the march had handed in a letter to 10 Downing Street urging the Prime Minister to pledge to a cut of at least 80 per cent in UK emissions in the UK Climate Change Bill this autumn.
Celebrities including Leonardo DiCaprio, Lemar, Terra Naomi and Greta Scacchi have publicised their support for the march, sung at rallies in key British cities, or walked in protest with the marchers, urging government and businesses to Cut the Carbon.