This is the end for London’s dirty buses.

A single decker hydrogen bus in London. Image credits: Martin Addison.

Don’t fret, London’s emblematic red buses will remain red – but they’ll be green on the inside. The city’s mayor, Sadiq Khan has announced that diesel double-decker buses will be phased out from the fleet in two years, to be replaced by electric or hydrogen buses.

“I want London to become a world leader in hydrogen and electric bus technology,” he said. “Transforming London’s bus fleet by accelerating the introduction of zero-emission buses is important and I plan to work with bus manufacturers, other cities, the European Commission and the C40 Climate Change Leadership Group of Cities to move this agenda forward.”

In many ways, cities and not countries are leading the way against climate change. Earlier this year, 7,100 cities from 119 countries signed world’s largest alliance to curb climate change and in the developed world at least, city climate targets are much more ambitious than national ones. Eleven other major cities of the world have also pledged to phase out diesel buses by the end of 2020, including New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Cape Town. Also, Paris, Madrid, and Mexico City have committed to do the same thing by 2025.

For London especially, reducing pollution is crucial. The world’s first industrialized city is also one of the most polluted in Europe. London has reached its yearly NO2 pollution limit in just 8 days and it’s already being sued by its citizens. London’s smog problem is recently getting out of control and parents have been warned to ‘take care‘ when they’re going outside with babies, because of pollution. It’s estimated that almost 10,000 Londoners are killed each year by air pollution and reducing emissions from diesel cars can have a big positive impact.

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