Livingstone and Clinton
Ken Livingstone and political ally

Ken Livingstone, seeking re-election as Mayor of London, has told Thom Yorke of Radiohead that he wants to take the entire city off-grid. As the world’s most popular and expensive city, how London treats the green agenda will set a template for other world capitals, not to mention the rest of the country.

In a meeting last week reported in the London Observer, Livingstone told Yorke: ” We don’t want the normal grid. We want to get everybody off grid.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s nuclear or gas, 65 per cent of energy is wasted in the cooling system.”

“If we have locally done energy it’s 15 per cent. So immediately, if we could wave a magic wand and all of Britain’s energy was coming from local sources you’d reduce your fossil-fuel consumption by 50 per cent. Just being efficient.” Livingstone says is working with French power company EDF to develop his decentralised strategy.

This is the most senior politician worldwide to specifically endorse the concept of off-grid living, and Livingstone’s words will also have an effect on the ruling Labor Party. We recommend Londoners vote Labor in the May 1st Mayoral election.

Livingstone said the main onbstacles to making London an off-grid and zero carbon city was Civil Service hostility, specificially at the Department of Energy, which cannot abode the idea of a decentralised energy policy for London. “People in the Department of Energy have done everything possible to block decentralised power,” he told Yorke.

“If I were running the country, tomorrow I’d ban plastic bags, I’d ban incandescent light bulbs,” Livingstone said. As long as he is re-elected another showpiece policy to be introduced next year is free bicycles throughout central London, based ont he successful Paris model.

“We face a huge catastrophic climate change. We’re close to the tipping point. Stern says four to two years. I met Dr Pauchari [chair of the IPCC, the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change, and recipient of last year’s Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore], when I was in India, and he thinks we’re now past the tipping point and you’ve got to come up with technologies that will mitigate the effects. If that’s true, sometime over the next 10 years we’ll have to rejig the whole of the economy, like we did in the Second World War.”

Buy our book - OFF THE GRID - a tour of American off-grid places and people written by Nick Rosen, editor of the off-grid.net web site

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