Smart Transport

'No time for delay – transport decarbonisation needs to start now'

Phil Goodwin

The eye-watering bill for the UK to reach carbon net zero by 2050 - forecast to be £1.4 trillion for the nation as a whole - will be dwarfed by the cost of failing to limit global warming, warned Professor Phil Goodwin, emeritus professor of transport at UCL and UWE.

Addressing an audience of transport specialists from regional and local government at yesterday's Smart Transport Conference, as well as the rail, freight and electric vehicle industries, he outlined the severe negative impact of climate change on GDP, as well as dangerous non-linear global consequences, such as disease, conflict, civil unrest, insurance breakdown and mass migration, and urged policy makers to act now.

A tonne of CO2 saved today represents 29 tonnes saved by 2050, whereas a tonne saved in 2049 is just one tonne saved before the net zero deadline - it’s the stock of carbon in the atmosphere, not carbon emissions that matter, said Goodwin (pictured).

“Making early reductions is much more powerful,” he said. “We need to focus on what we can do before 2030 not 2050.”

This undermines the case that electric vehicles provide the panacea for decarbonising transport, given that the average life of a car is 14 years. This summer’s Transport Decarbonisation Plan was clear that “we will use cars less” confirmed Bob Moran, head of environmental strategy at the Department for Transport.

The DfT is finalising a toolkit for local authorities to execute a modal shift in travel choices, moving people away from private cars and towards active and shared travel, as well as promoting higher car occupancy rates, said Moran.

Creating a vision of the spaces and places where we want to live and work is central to these aims; once public consensus is established, the policies required to deliver them become clearer to design and easier to promote, said Martin Tugwell, chief executive, Transport for the North.

For local authorities to deliver these objectives, however, requires a devolution of powers and funds so they have “control of routes, fares and frequency” of public transport, said Polly Billington, director, UK100.

The challenge, said Lord Deben, chairman of the Climate Change Committee, is to bring all of these elements together to create a transport system that enables people to travel with the convenience and freedom delivered by the internal combustion engine, “but in a way that does not cost the Earth.”

Our next event: register now

Smart Transport Conference logoRegister your interest for May 2022

From the most influential policy makers to the most innovative products and services, the Smart Transport Conference 2022 will once again be packed with engaging and insightful content.

Tickets will be available soon. In the meantime, register your interest here to be the first to hear when booking opens, plus exciting speaker and agenda announcements.

Venue: The Queen's Hotel, Leeds

Register now

Comment as guest


Login  /  Register

Comments

  • Dr Alex Rowbotham - 15/12/2021 10:27

    £1.4 trillion. That's what HS2 could end up costing. I have an idea........

    Reply as guest

    Login  /  Register



Office Address
  • Smart Transport
    Media House
    Lynch Wood
    Peterborough
    PE2 6EA
Join the community
  • Smart Transport is the UK's most important brand to bring together senior public policy makers and influential private sector leaders to showcase real-time solutions aligned to government policy.
  •  
  • Find out more
  • Insight
  •  

 

Welcome to Smart Transport

Welcome to the Smart Transport website, keeping you up-to-date with the latest news, insight and reports from policymakers and thought leaders.

The Smart Transport brand connects policy to solutions by bringing national government and local authority policymakers together with private sector organisations.

Contact Lindsay Greatbatch for more information.

© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd
Media House, Lynch Wood, Peterborough, PE2 6EA - Registered number 01176085 IPSO regulated logo

 

Smart Transport members

Smart Transport members 2022

Please note:
By submitting any material to us you are confirming that the material is your own original work or that you have permission from the copyright owner to use the material and to authorise Bauer Consumer Media to use it as described in this paragraph. You also promise that you have permission from anyone featured or
referred to in the submitted material to it being used by Bauer Consumer Media. If Bauer Consumer Media receives a claim from a copyright owner or a person
featured in any material you have sent us, we will inform that person that you have granted us permission to use the relevant material and you will be responsible for paying any amounts due to the copyright owner or featured person and/or for reimbursing Bauer Consumer Media for any losses it has suffered as a result.