Exploring the ‘Will Labour fail its transport decarbonisation test?’ issue

Trying to analyse and explain why transport decarbonisation in the UK has been so inadequate turns out to be quite a complicated task. Most people are not really aware of the issue, indeed think that jumping on a plane for their next foreign holiday has nothing to do with climate change. Some transport or climate campaigners will not be aware of the basic numbers.

That transport, which in 1990 (the baseline set for the emissions reductions required by the 2008 Climate Change Act) made up 18% of the UK carbon budget now takes up double that – 36% – a share which continues to grow. That at the midpoint of the CCA’s 60 year ‘Net Zero’ period 1990-2050, transport had achieved no decarbonisation at all; it was actually above the baseline (in pre-Covid 2019). That by 2030 its emissions will only have reduced by 20%. That by 2050 aviation emissions will still be above their 1990 starting point! Just those few numbers tell you enough about the scale of the problem, and that it’s huge.

Behind these unknown figures is a complex web of policies and processes that could be used to accelerate decarbonisation but actually at the moment hamper or prevent it. Who’s even heard of the National Networks national policy statement, let alone its crucial paragraphs 5.16-18? To try and shine a light into these crevices the Will Labour fail its transport decarbonisation test? publications exist on a number of levels:

– there’s a short Issues Briefing which condenses all the analysis into just 7 pages. To understand the basics of the subject, start there.

– If you’re want to know a little more about a particulartopic in the briefing, click on the ? symbols and that will take you to a page on this website telling you where you can find more information within the more detailed Analysis Report.

– the Analysis Report is 60 pages long (+300 endnotes for its sources) which is quite dense but it’s broken down into 55 topics – ‘Questions’ – allowing people to read about whatever interests them. Just go to appendix 2 and you’ll find that Questions list.

– A good way to quickly get to the essentials is by reading the report’s Executive Summary which brings together both the analysis and policy recommendations in one place. For example, paragraph 12 lists all those ‘policy frameworks’ that need to be revised.

– And of course you can always ask info@transportnorth.org.uk Send us a message or question.

Whatever your level of interest or knowledge, you should now be able to go some way further in understanding why transport decarbonisation has so far failed and why – and how – it must accelerate.