Los Angeles and London Are ‘Stealing’ From Each Other to Help Tackle the Climate Crisis—Remarks from Mayors Garcetti and Khan


In early May, London reached a milestone of 10,000 public electric vehicle chargers in the city. This same month, London Mayor Sadiq Khan joined Mayor Eric Garcetti at the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI) to check out technology and innovation that both cities are using to fight the climate emergency. In their excerpted remarks below, both mayors talk about the special connection these two global metropolises have in inspiring and challenging the other to be better and to take tangible action to cleaner air and resiliency.

Mayor Eric Garcetti: It's wonderful to be here with my dear friend, Sadiq Khan, the chair of C40. He's taken time off his London schedule to see what he can do to help us in all of the cities of the world. Hopefully, he can take back some of the innovative ideas and the spirit and culture that's right here to London.

When we were together in Glasgow, it was my honor to hand the baton over to Sadiq Khan, who isn't just a great mayor for London, but a great mayor of this world. It’s also my honor to be here with these fellow leaders at the state and national level and at the private and public level, from everything from our ports to our delivery systems to our transportation systems. Of course, to also be here with our amazing students from Hollenbeck Middle School who will be running the joint before you know it. Thanks always to LACI; I’m seeing how LACI has grown and thrived and continues to be a spark of inspiration in Los Angeles and throughout the world. The talent that is here is exceptional.

The moment that is here is a crisis, and the spirit that we have here is perhaps unmatched. There isn't territory, there is collaboration. There isn't division, there's unity. We see our goals, which Mayor Khan and I share, of zero emissions and cleaner air.

I was sharing with Mayor Khan in the 1960s, an eight-day smog storm killed a young girl here in Los Angeles. In the 70s, when I was a little kid, we would have stage three smog alerts where we couldn't go outside. Now we see some 50 years later, our ozone pollution down 60 percent. Some of our SOX, NOx, and small particulate matter pollution is down as much as 90, 80, and 60 percent. These are achievable goals.

The thing Mayor Khan was asking me about is here in LA, we connect clean air with the climate fight. For a long time, we didn't. Clean air was one fight because we felt that in our own families and our communities. The climate emergency was another one. Increasingly, we see how these two have come together.

London really stands as an inspiration to us for some of the policies, the procedures, the technology that we can implement here. We hope that Los Angeles is one of those twin capitals around the country as well.

The science is clear about taking action here today. It's never been cheaper; it's never been easier; and, quite frankly, it's never been more exciting. This isn't just cool for the environment. This stuff is exciting for a city, from an urban planning perspective. We take the buses that are allowed today, even if they run on natural gas and certainly on diesel, when we have electric buses, we can hear our city again. When we have smaller scale delivery, we can feel the urban streets again. When we get people on public transportation at a human scale, we can really see each other in a way that we haven’t.

Here in Los Angeles, we are the solar capital of America. We are the place where we have more electric vehicle charging stations and more EVs than any other city in America, including the first of its kind electric car share program that puts the electric vehicles in the hands of low-income families. Together with innovative agencies like Metro and LADOT, we are committing to a 100% zero emission bus fleet by 2030 and 2028, respectively. That is the most ambitious goal.

Let me say one last thing in closing. It's not just about the technology. It's not just about the tons of carbon that we're reducing. It's also about connecting us with the idea of justice and opportunity. When you see these girls from Hollenbeck who are going to be the bosses of tomorrow, we see that they'll be running companies and innovation. When we see the opportunities that are here for us to make sure that those who bear the brunt of the climate emergency are the first to feel the relief from the climate emergency, we can truly say that we didn't just do the right thing for our planet; we did the right thing for our people. This is huge progress. Let's keep it up.

I know the mayor is going to be on a plane tonight, but I really am so tickled that he and his incredible team have been able to spend such generous time here in Los Angeles. I’m honored to introduce not only somebody who has been an inspiration to me, who I knew was going to take the C40’s fight to the highest levels, but our dear friend and honorary Angeleno, Sadiq Khan. Please welcome the Mayor of London: Sadiq Khan.

Mayor Sadiq Khan: Thank you very much, Eric. For those that don't know, we've been here for four days now. First in New York, then in Silicon Valley, then in San Francisco, but we saved the best the last: Los Angeles. It is a pleasure to be here in Los Angeles with my good friend Eric Garcetti, who has been a fantastic mayor since 2013.

Some of you may notice, Eric and I have been very excited in the last half hour, like children in a candy store. When we see these things happening at LACI, we’re really excited. For those who live in Los Angeles, you may not realize what an inspirational leader you've had since 2013. We in London were a bit slow to the party--I’m blaming the previous mayor--but it’ll be fun to catch up and hopefully make further progress in this really important area.

 In my view, historically, there have been three sorts of politicians when it comes to climate change. There are the climate change deniers, but there are fortunately fewer and fewer as time goes on. There are the climate change delayers, who talk about doing things in 20, 30, 40 years time. Lastly, there are those that are the doers. When I look to Los Angeles, I see a doer mayor doing stuff that is, in real time, improving the quality of life of the residents, improving the air in your city, but also seeing the opportunities in creating jobs, wealth, and prosperity.

We work closely with LACI, and this partnership is a meaningful one. I’ll tell you this, the choice we have is to not take action with the consequences that brings to our communities or to take action. I think the cost of inaction far exceeds the cost of action. The great thing in Los Angeles is you're finding real time solutions that have improved the quality of life of residents and bringing people on the right side of the campaign we have.

In London, we have the largest number of electric buses of any city in western Europe. We have more charging points than any city in western Europe, as well more rapid charging points than any city in western Europe. We like to work closely with Mayor Garcetti and other colleagues around the globe.

 I just want to end by saying Eric, Eric’s successor, me, my successor, and politicians can't do anything without citizens. Citizenry should be part of this campaign to tackle the twin challenges of climate change and inequality, and it's got to be a public-private endeavor. It's wonderful to meet colleagues from the private sector. It's wonderful to see the innovation taking place at the Incubator, and it has been wonderful to meet the young citizens of Los Angeles.

 It's been a great 24 to 36 hours in Los Angeles. I'm leaving with lots of memories and lots of ideas. I'm a firm believer, Eric, in stealing things well, rather than inventing them badly. Plagiarism is the best form of flattery. Thank you for all that you're doing for your great city. Thank you for supporting Mayor Garcetti in the work he's been doing. Also thank you for supporting citizens of the world with the work we're doing to tackle the climate emergency, and also to reduce the toxic air across the planet.

The final thing I’ve got to say is this. For those of you who've had a hard two years and are looking forward to holiday; come and have your holiday in London. Hollywood's good, but London is great. We've organized for Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth the Second to have her 70th anniversary on the throne this year. We've organized some good weather. We've organized some pageant and pub. We've even organized for the Rolling Stones to play in Hyde Park. Come to London, have a great time, and continue the friendship Eric and I have as Mayors between Angelenos and Londoners. Thank you very much.

“Citizenry should be part of this campaign to tackle the twin challenges of climate change and inequality, and it's got to be a public-private endeavor.” -Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London