Back to: How we travel agenda
Sarah: Our next speaker is Steve Media from the University of the West of England.
Steve Melia: Okay, some of what I'm going to say will kind of recap on a few things that you have heard before. They're basically only two ways to decarbonise surface transport. Either you switch your vehicles to noncarbon fuels like electric or hydrogen, and the market seems to have very much plumped for electric. And/or you rigid reduce traffic volumes. And what we need to do will inevitably be some mixture of those two things. Now the Committee on Climate Change looking at the law, the decarbonisation law, is it uses the phrase net-zero, which, as you probably heard, that means that we try to get us close to zero as possible. But for some sectors, there is the possibility of some CO2 removal. But the capacity for that is not infinite. We can't just say, "Well, we admit what we like and just take it out". It's limited. Now they are saying that there should be a certain amount of CO2 removal allowed for aviation, but not for cars or vans. So that means by 2050, we have to get to the state where there are no vehicles circulating on the road that are burning fossil fuels. That follows automatically from the law. So that means that electrification of cars and vans, whatever else we do that bit is unavoidable. You've already heard that Norway is the international leader on this. You can see there the red graph showing sales of electric cars in Norway and the blue line, the UK, a massive difference. As we've just heard, Norway has now very recently topped the 50% mark. But bear that in mind. When you look at the following slide. Again these are both for Norway. Look at the difference between the annual sales and the cars on the road. There is a huge time lag between the two. Takes a long time of selling new electric cars before it starts to make a big difference on the type of cars that you see driving around on the road.#
Now you may have heard in the media very recently that the government has announced a new policy intention to bring forward its ban on petrol and diesel cars to 2035 or earlier if feasible. You might not have heard that bit in the media, but that was in the on the government website, 2035 or earlier, if feasible. Now it's important to bear in mind that this is not just about getting to a single point in 2050. It's about the total amount of carbon that we emit between now and then. And that graph that you can see there shows the massive gap between where we need to be and where current policies are currently taking us on transport.#
Now various people have looked at the numbers involved in this problem and there's there's still work going on, and there's still some uncertainty. But the bottom line is this. That even if we did what the government is proposing, even if we did it a bit faster, it still wouldn't be enough on its own. So one recent estimate shows that if all the new cars were electric by 2030, so five years quicker than the government is suggesting, we would still need a 10 to 20% cut in car mileage by 2030 as well. So this is a really important point. If there are any of you here who were really concerned about, you know, what's the impact of this going to be on motorists and on, you know, people who have to use their cars and so on. The key point is this, that we need to electrify as fast as possible because the slower we do it, the more draconian will have to be the measures cutting back traffic because there's really only those two ways of doing it.#
Now moving on to sort of cuts in traffic volumes. This is easier to do in larger urban areas for some of the reasons that you've already heard. But again, likewise, a caution people, even massive improvements in public transport on their own don't make much difference to carbon emissions from cars. Look at London since 2000, 56% increase in public transport, roughly 10% use reduction in car mileage, 5% reduction in road traffic emissions. So very big increase in public transport to get a pretty small reduction in emissions. Now, while we're talking about all this, the UK population is still growing and it's still forecast to grow over this time. And so a lot of this is about how should can and should we, how's that growing population. And in the meantime, at the moment, the government is actively making the problem worse by one of the biggest expansions in the road-building programme in at least a generation. And particularly where you build roads in congested areas, congested motorways and so on. There's a pretty direct relationship between road capacity and the volume of traffic.#
So to sum up. There are two main ways to reduce emissions from surface transport, electrify or reduce traffic. Faster electrification is absolutely essential. We will also need to reduce traffic volumes, and that's easier in larger urban areas. You don't necessarily get the biggest reductions there. Population is growing, and we should house more of that population in those large urban areas. For the reasons that you heard from Lynn earlier on. And lastly, that expanding the road network is making the problem worse and should be stopped. Thank you .
Sarah: So thank you very much, Steve. So we're gonna pause again for you to write down questions again. Maximum two each. So I should have - will re-emphasize now, Steve is an advocate. So that was his opinion or the opinion of his organisation. You're going to hear an alternative opinion in a minute. But he is allowed to give you his personal opinion. Think about that when you write your questions.
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