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<< Back to: ICLEI e-News | issue 11, December 2007 - January 2008

Guardian lists two ICLEI mayors in the 50 people who could save the planet

The Mayor of London (U.K.), Mr. Ken Livingstone, and the Mayor of Freiburg (Germany) Mr. Dieter Solomon, have been listed as two of the 50 people who could save the planet, according to the newspaper, The Guardian. A Guardian panel, taking nominations from key environmental figures, met to compile a list of our ultimate green heroes.  Their panel included scientists - former World Bank chief scientist and now the British government's scientific adviser on climate change, Bob Watson, Indian physicist and ecologist Vandana Shiva, Kenyan biologist and Nobel prize-winner Wangari Maathai; activists - Guardian columnist George Monbiot and head of Greenpeace International Gerd Leipold; politicians - Green party co-leader and MEP Caroline Lucas, and London mayor Ken Livingstone; sustainable development commissioner for the UK government Jonathon Porritt and novelist Philip Pullman. Then the Guardian's science, environment and economics correspondents met to add their own nominations and establish a final 50. The Guardian claims that while this is not a definitive list and there are no rankings, these 50 names give a sense of the vast well of people who represent the stirrings of a remarkable scientific and social revolution, and give hope as we enter 2008. Provided below are the descriptions provided for Mayors Livingstone and Salomon. Mayor of London, Mr. Ken Livingstone
(Photograph: Michael Stephens/PA) β€œKen Livingstone, 62, has dragged the capital to the top of the major world cities' environment league. He shocked the more timid Tony Blair and Gordon Brown when he set an ambitious 60% CO2 reduction target by 2025 - and now he is championing renewables, energy from waste, heat and power systems, and ways Londoners can adapt their homes. The capital has seen a huge increase in cycling, and from this month most of the city's public buildings will be "retrofitted" to save energy. It's beginning to work, he says: four years ago, more than one in three Londoners used their cars every day; now few er than one in five do. But he can do little about airports. Almost one-third of London emissions come from City airport and Heathrow, and there are plans for both to nearly double in size. He was nominated by Jonathan Porritt.”   Mayor of Freiburg, Mr. Dieter Salomon
Freiburg in southern Germany is the most ecologically aware town in Europe and possibly the rich world. The city of 250,000 people dubs itself a "solar region" and gathers nearly as much power from the sun as is collected in all of Britain. It's stacked with research establishments and its solar firms employ thousands of people. It is also the playground of architect Rolf Disch, who builds houses that need to be heated for only a week each year and whose cost is paid for by the electricity generated by the panels on their roofs. Salomon, 47, says that by 2010, at least 10% of all the energy consumed in Freiburg will come from renewables. To attain this, a huge area of the city centre has been turned into a pedestrian zone and there are 500km of bike paths. More than a third of all journeys are made by bike, and there are fewer than 200 parking places for cars in the centre compared with 5,000 for bikes. The snag? The quality of life is so good in Freiburg that too many people want to live there and it's hard for anyone to buy a house.”  For the complete list, please go to www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/jan/05/activists.ethicalliving.