By the end of the year, London should already have the largest fleet of zero emissions buses in Europe. But the UK capital is just getting started. Cleantechnica reports that Mayor Sadiq Khan, speaking at an unveiling of a new "world first" hydrogen fuel cell double decker bus, that all new single decker buses being purchased for city center use will be zero emission. Starting immediately.
This feels to me like a very big deal. London, which has long suffered under horrible air pollution, is sending a clear signal to the world that there's only one way for world class cities to be headed—and that's toward zero emission, fossil fuel free models of transportation.
The bus announcement should by no means be viewed in isolation. From massive investments in bicycle infrastructure to plug-in hybrid black cabs, London is on a multi-pronged push toward cleaning up its act. And they are not alone. Cities ranging from Louisville, Kentucky to Mountainview, California are also embracing electrified public transportation. Even Edmonton, in the heart of the tar sands province of Alberta, Canada, is considering purchasing 25 to 40 electric buses. (At the same time as Alberta itself auctions off 5GW of wind energy and incentivizes coal plants to close down!)
Given all the uncertainty around federal climate action right now, we should be grateful for clear signs that climate leadership from city leaders around the world isn't just continuing—it's accelerating. At some point, approving all the pipelines and tar sands projects in the world isn't going to help sell fossil fuels if demand starts dropping and alternatives keep getting more competitive.