Mayor of London Sadiq Khan meets XR

'All our politicians are now operating in a different political landscape'.

All our politicians are now operating in a different political landscape. 

Members of climate campaign group Extinction Rebellion have met Mayor of London Sadiq Khan to discuss tackling climate change.

Among the delegation at City Hall were Farhana Yamin, the international climate change lawyer and diplomat who helped negotiate the Paris Agreement in 2015, and Skeena Rathor, a Labour councillor who chained herself to her party leader Jeremy Corbyn's fence earlier this month.

Speaking in the meeting Mr Khan said: "Cards on the table, we inherited a bare cupboard. We went from being a world leader in 2007.

Direct action

"What we've tried to do is work with C40 (C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group) to pinch good ideas which other cities are doing well. I believe in stealing things well rather than inventing them badly.

"One of my frustrations is that we are the most centralised democracy in the western world, we're doing what we can with the resources we've got and the powers we've got."

The meeting came after the governments in both Wales and Scotland declared a "climate emergency" following weeks of protests and direct action across the country by Extinction Rebellion.

Radical action

Sam Knights, 22, was among the XR members at the meeting. They said: “The context of this meeting is perhaps more important than the meeting itself. As we talked, we were all aware of the last two weeks of protest. 

“These protests have seen tens of thousands of people out on the street, day after day, night after night. They have put their bodies on the line for climate and ecological justice, and focused all our minds in response to this emergency. 

“All our politicians are now operating in a different political landscape, held to account by a generation that is demanding radical action right now. The low-lying island states are quickly vanishing underwater whilst indigenous tribes all across the world are on the brink of extinction. We owe it to them to act now. We can do so much better.”

This Author

Brendan Montague is editor of The Ecologist. Mason Boycott-Owen is a reporter with the Press Association.

More from this author