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Government’s decarbonising transport plan: a good time to bury bad news?

March 31, 2020

By Paul Homewood


h/t AC Osborn




The Department for Transport (DfT) has launched a consultation paper on the future of UK transport, which calls for a major shift out of cars into cycling, walking and buses, and "using cars differently in future", but hasn’t told anyone about it.

The paper crept out on March 26, the day that UK Covid-19 victims reached 578, up to that point the largest recorded daily increase. Decarbonising Transport: Setting The Challenge calls for respondents to the debate, as set out by the Government, prior to the publication of a full transport decarbonisation plan, due in November to coincide with the UN’s annual climate-change conference COP26 due to be held in Glasgow.

Citing the Government’s 2050 net-zero greenhouse-gas emissions target, Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, espouses a vision where "we will use our cars less and be able to rely on a convenient, cost-effective and coherent public transport network.

"From motorcycles to HGVs, all road vehicles will be zero emission," he writes, "and technological advances… will change the way vehicles are used."

The paper also confirms that even though it has left the EU, the UK will continue to adhere to the EU’s strict CO2 emissions standards for cars, which are the toughest in the world.

"Tailpipe emissions for new cars and vans remains a crucial lever," says the paper, which says the UK will at least match the EU’s CO2 targets for new cars of 15% by 2025 and 37.5% by 2030 (based on a 2021 baseline), with manufacturers facing fines for non-compliance.

While the paper invites debate, it sets the terms of that debate fairly strictly. It acknowledges that cars produce lower greenhouse-gas emissions (typically 20 per cent less than in 1990) and that since 1990 there has been an overall five per cent decrease in car emissions despite a 22 per cent increase in traffic in the same period.

Yet it also reckons that fuel efficiency gains have stalled in recent years, blaming not the public spurning of CO2-efficient diesel-fuelled cars, but the growth of SUVs (although it fails to define this wide market sector, which spans supermini-based crossovers to gargantuan SUVs).


Although this is claimed to be a consultation, the government document makes it abundantly clear the public will not be given a say, as Grant Shapps’ own Foreword spells out:



We have had hints for a while, for instance from the CCC, that private transport would have to be severely curtailed, not least because the power grid simply would not be able to cope in a Net Zero world.

As one Telegraph commenter put it:

Public transport. Don’t make me laugh. You may be able to get around in London but in the rest of the country it’s appalling. This is a direct attack on personal freedoms. Personal transport has opened may opportunities for everybody. I presume this is now to be restricted to the wealthy.

As with many other things, this is a London-centric policy, formulated with little idea how everybody outside the capital lives.

The policy also raises the very real question of how the reduction in private transport will actually be achieved.

By making private cars too expensive for ordinary people? Rationing cars to one per family? Rationing mileage, with the help of road charging?

Or maybe we will end up seeing the scenes observed this week, with police only allowing car travel for specific purposes.

  1. Ian Magness permalink
    March 31, 2020 3:07 pm

    Look, all this is OK and will happen because the government has, in order primarily to support the NHS, orchestrated not just a recession but a full-blown depression – coming to a place near you within 3 or 4 months. As a result, there will be mass corporate insolvencies and innumerable personal bankruptcies. So, only a gilded few will still be able to afford to drive cars. Oh, and there’s no exit plan, no “this is how we are going to get the country back to work by such-and-such date”. It’s just the precautionary principle process that forgets how many normally die and just aims for “no deaths”, regardless of economic cost.
    Oh, and we’ll also forget the scenario that I – and no doubt many thousands of others living within the M25 – put up with, i.e no buses within a mile of my house.
    So this is all very sensible.

  2. March 31, 2020 3:16 pm

    If there is a rational argument for overhauling transportation in the UK then it should proceed surely but if climate change is cited as the motivation for these changes then we know that there is no rational reason to make these changes. If AGW climate change is cited as the reason for these changes then those making such proposals must provide the evidence of harm from co2 emissions. If the incredibly sloppy mathematics of carbon budgets is anything to go by, I am guessing that no such evidence exists.

  3. Broadlands permalink
    March 31, 2020 3:19 pm

    “Or maybe we will end up seeing the scenes observed this week, with police only allowing car travel for specific purposes.”

    That’s the effect of the COVID-19 virus. And, it should become evident that this is a simulation, a rehearsal, of what the ‘green’ activists desire…a rapid reduction in CO2 emissions. Not a pleasant outcome for anyone attempting a trip to Net-zero without alternative transportation. It doesn’t even lower CO2 we have already emitted and ‘renewables’ don’t transport very much.

    • Russ Wood permalink
      April 2, 2020 5:39 pm

      With the Covid lock-down in South Africa, reports are coming in of police over-enthusiasm (shall we say), such as stopping a car driving at 2 a.m. to an all-night pharmacy to get medicine for a sick child, and ordering the anxious parent to turn back. And reading the stay-at-home orders to be ‘stay INSIDE’! Which also led to somebody being shot at in his yard! A reporter recording some excesses was also shot at with multiple rubber bullets – fortunately missing her!

  4. Frank Everest permalink
    March 31, 2020 3:24 pm

    We are rapidly descending into a Police State, with Extinction Rebellion cheering the process on. I can see car travel being banned altogether when Covid-19 deaths reach maybe 2,000 a day, ignoring the fact that the normal death rate in the the UK is around 1600 a day.
    The 2,000 will include most of the 1,600 who would have died anyway, but it’ll give the government the excuse to show that restricting cars results in greatly reduced CO2 emissions, and so might be adopted in time to get brownie points at the COP26 summit in Glasgow.

  5. HotScot permalink
    March 31, 2020 3:28 pm

    Some consider there is overwhelming scientific evidence that the climate* is changing.

    I don’t think however, “There is overwhelming scientific evidence that we need to take action.”

    *There is no such thing as ‘a climate’. Climate is a convenient term used to teach children about varying weather patterns over differing geographical areas.

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      April 1, 2020 8:33 am

      That statement is a lie. Science does not show we need to do anything. It simply says what might happen. What we choose to do about that has NOTHING to do with science.

      Far too many politicians are too stupid to understand the point.

      • HotScot permalink
        April 1, 2020 9:44 pm


        I think that’s what I said.

  6. mikewaite permalink
    March 31, 2020 3:44 pm

    I was particularly depressed by this statement:
    “Tailpipe emissions for new cars and vans remains a crucial lever,” says the paper, which says the UK will at least match the EU’s CO2 targets for new cars of 15% by 2025 and 37.5% by 2030 (based on a 2021 baseline), with manufacturers facing fines for non-compliance.
    ” At least match” – I had hoped that the long struggle for independence from the EU nonsense would free us from the normal Cuvil Service policy of taking EU regulations and making them even more ridiculous , arduous and expensive for the Uk residents . But apparently not .
    I am not sure that I want to escape succumbing to covid – 19 , there seems to be no future at least in the UK for which it is worth surviving.

    • saparonia permalink
      March 31, 2020 3:54 pm

      To offer you some respite, apparently all humans carry virus’s and the corono virus’s are commonplace. The ones who are dying have other issues but when the causes of death are investigated, if Cov-19 is included, they ignore all others. The media has blown it out of proportion. There’s a purging of old people taking place just as there was during the Liverpool Care Pathway where hospitalised aged people were deprived of water and died.

      • Teaef permalink
        March 31, 2020 4:21 pm


      • Phil O'Sophical permalink
        March 31, 2020 9:30 pm

        Flu purges the old and infirm every year, in huge numbers; always has. But we’ve never counted numbers daily and shut down the world.

        The average human carries 174 viruses, but no two carry the same mix. We also harbour 40,000 species of bacteria, of which some are beneficial. We are all symbiotes at a certain level.

      • sarastro92 permalink
        April 1, 2020 7:28 pm

        Funny thing. I don’t remember hospitals running out of morgue space during the “normal flu”; or shortages of coffins in places such as Italy; or a dire shortage of ventilators; or gas plumes from crematoria detectable from space, as occurred in China recently … so why is this year different from all the rest Phil?

    • Gerry, England permalink
      April 1, 2020 10:55 am

      For the automotive sector you need to refer to WP 29. It is going global since it saves a lot of money if the specification of vehicles can be harmonised. Even just having a single tyre standard could save a couple of billion a year on duplication of stock and manufacturing costs. So leaving the EU was never going to change much in the automotive sector as there would be no economic reason for manufacturers to supply UK versions.

  7. saparonia permalink
    March 31, 2020 3:46 pm

    Some of the people I know are so traumatised by the media’s onslaught that they won’t hear about this even if I were to yell it outside their closed windows. Yes it’s an opportunist time free-for-all as far as G20 and the puppet government goes.
    When the cars are confiscated the scammers will be able to say “we told you so” . They’ll keep theirs so they can make the daily journey to sign in parliament and straight back home again.

  8. buchanlad permalink
    March 31, 2020 3:46 pm

    Previous comments spot on . Except Ian Magness who chooses to ignore all those who live outside urban areas .This proposal is nuts . They can prattle on with their mad ideas but transport needs fossil fuels for a generation and probably more . Electric Vehicles EVs are EEVs Emissions Elsewhere Vehicles . Food production worldwide needs diesel . Cattle , sheep and Regenerative Agriculture systems worldwide will restore soils and biodiversity .
    Net zero is of course bonkers . We are setting a standard for others to follow , we are leading the way – we are told . Nonsense .

    • Ian Magness permalink
      March 31, 2020 7:41 pm

      Not so buchanlad (so I’d rather you didn’t slag me off in public), I didn’t forget anyone. My point was that if there’s bugger-all usable public transport in the well-populated sort of place in which I live (within the M25), then what hope is there ever going to be of readily-available public transport in less populated parts of the country (which cover a far greater area)? It’s total fantasy and it’s not going to happen.

      • Gerry, England permalink
        April 1, 2020 11:01 am

        Correct Ian. I used to live on Epsom Downs and the nearest town was Epsom. All bus services ended at 7pm on weekdays and who knows what there was on the weekends.

        If people are forced to use buses then if there is the money to fund them then services might be increased but think of all the reasons you might go shopping and without personal transport then everything would need to be delivered. But then if you apply their ‘circular economy’ thinking you will probably be too poor to buy anything beyond some food anyway.

  9. A C Osborn permalink
    March 31, 2020 4:01 pm

    Another notch in the UN Sustainability agenda.
    Nice to have your governing bodies doing the work of the UN isn’t it?

  10. JimW permalink
    March 31, 2020 4:14 pm

    Well I think we can join the dots; from govt ministers meeting XR before their demonstrations via the manufactured crisis of Cv-19, to a continuing removal of civic liberties. This paper is just another milestone on the journey.
    As I write this under house arrest in France, I think if the Dems win the WH in November this is unstoppable.

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      March 31, 2020 5:08 pm

      Makes one wonder…a Dallas moment to come? (Hoarding tin foil…)

    • Brembo permalink
      March 31, 2020 6:59 pm

      If the the Democrats win the Whitehouse in November you can add ww3 to our list of woes

  11. MrGrimNasty permalink
    March 31, 2020 4:21 pm

    Prepare for blackouts – CV19 working restrictions excuse.

    Hmm. Did they just get a fright? Middle of last Wed. thru Fri. wind dropped low, at one point right down to zero by the looks.

    • Stuart Brown permalink
      March 31, 2020 10:07 pm

      Mr GM – did they get a fright? Nah – next to zero wind has happened so many times in the past and it’s dark every night (who knew?). Ministers seem to think this can be solved by edict, Canute like. This lunacy from Shapps is a case in point.

      Look at it right now – 52% from gas, next up is nuclear (13%) even with half the reactors down, then the interconnectors (12.5%), then ALL the wind turbines (9.9%) producing barely more than Drax (8.3%). And we’re burning coal (OK – 1%, but, y’know). Solar? 0% of course.

      Actually, I think the grid is likely more stable at the moment with less wind to upset it!

      • MrGrimNasty permalink
        April 1, 2020 9:38 am

        That’s rather the problem isn’t it, it keeps diving and surging from 0 to 15GW at the whim of the weather! Doesn’t matter if it’s high or low, it’ll whip the other way anon.

  12. Peter Burgess permalink
    March 31, 2020 4:22 pm

    Truly those whom the Gods wish to destroy they first make mad.

  13. Harry Passfield permalink
    March 31, 2020 4:24 pm

    Unless this country manages to become net-zero along with all the other countries around us who send heavy goods transport through our ports or, unless the government are happy to ban ICE transport from the roads, I can see many transport companies registering in a foreign and less restrictive country and plying their trade here in essentially legitimate vehicles. But I doubt I’ll be around to see it. (One of the great incentives from CV is the spur to write a will!!)

  14. Chilli permalink
    March 31, 2020 4:24 pm

    At the end of the day all these policies have to get past the electorate – and I can’t see that happening once they really start to bite. Just look at how the Tories came around when Milliband broke ranks and promised to freeze energy prices – suddenly hug-a-husky Cameron was eager to ‘chuck out all the green crap’ to avoid being out-flanked by Labour. And look at the influence UKIP and the Brexit Party had. It may not have translated into direct electoral success but the pressure they applied certainly forced the other parties to change policy. It’s a slow process but eventually democracy works.

    • Adam Gallon permalink
      March 31, 2020 8:49 pm

      We have to have an electable party, that stands on a platform of not implementing these plans first.
      Since we’re being bombarded with programs telling us about this “Climate Emergency”, at every turn, a lot of the electorate will support such policies.

  15. Mike Higton permalink
    March 31, 2020 5:03 pm

    Where’s Nigel Farrage these days?
    It needs someone like him to launch a “Power to the People” party, encompassing both meanings of the word “Power”.

  16. Harry Passfield permalink
    March 31, 2020 5:21 pm

    Menchen (you all know the quote) was never so right.
    Day after day, listening to the doom and gloom of Gov press conferences, we are being ground down. My MP seems to be too busy to respond to my plea that the Gov stress HOPE, not FEAR. Unfortunately, politicians prefer to keep people in fear.

  17. March 31, 2020 5:26 pm

    The policy also raises the very real question of how the reduction in private transport will actually be achieved.

    Simple – they won’t let you park anywhere, or if they do, it will be severely restricted and/or horribly expensive.

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      March 31, 2020 5:51 pm

      And as with all things, there will be exceptions – and they will prove the rule.

      • Phoenix44 permalink
        April 1, 2020 8:37 am

        It will be enforced by local councils, and, as with affordable housing, they will decide who is “essential”. Oddly enough, it will be state employees. So nurses, who many of us never use in a year, but not those who run the stuff we all use every day, like food, gas, electricity, banking.

  18. Jackington permalink
    March 31, 2020 5:39 pm

    I’m still waiting to hear what they intend to do about Agricultural and Building machinery also what are the plans for aviation and Ships? These are all vehicles that depend upon fossil fuels. I’m only asking because I want to know.

  19. March 31, 2020 5:50 pm

    According to an article in the Press & Journal (northern Scotland), quoting the British Medical Journal, a group of “experts” led by Dr. Mike Gill are calling for health warnings on filling station pumps. When I saw the headline with a picture of a petrol pump I assumed they were referring to the advice on using gloves when filling up or sterilising the pump handle – but no. It’s to warn of the impacts on health of burning fossil fuels. It will apparently be like the cigarette and tobacco warnings which helped make smoking less acceptable.
    If, as they would like, we are driving EVs and relying on renewables to power them – forget it. Wind energy will never supply electricity 24/7.
    So, now they have gone one step further and want us all using public transport? I saw a bus yesterday going through my village. If I still lived in my old farmhouse up a steep hill, I would need a telescope to watch out for one. Do Shapps et al have the faintest clue?

  20. johnbillscott permalink
    March 31, 2020 7:23 pm

    Given that the current Climate craziness started in 1992 at the infamous Rio Summit where the hoax was generated to use CO2 as the reason for Climate Change, or Global Warming or whatever the latest name is, when in fact the real reason was to destroy the Western economies and facilitate wealth transfer. This would then lead to a UN controlled Socialist World Government – sorta like a super international EU. The so called super elites see them selves as the de-facto governor’s of the ne regime. The West may accede to this new Dominion, but USA, China, Japan, Russia and India will not and they will pick at the carcass of this new world order.

    One cannot make a great nation great by creating domestic infrastructure if there is no wealth flow from exports (hard and soft). Taxation is the lifeblood of any country and a Nation cannot survive living on the taxation of its citizens.

    Deben’s Climate Change Committee Quango of money grubbing. hucksters supported by snowflake oddballs must be eliminated soon. Deben should be prosecuted for his pocked lining projects.

    Thermal power and only that is the only road to prosperity for the next century at least, and the too expensive renewable industry be forced to compete without subsidy’s.

    If the political and government so called elites think the common people will accept moving back to the dark ages they are completely deluded and will be taken care of in the French manner “a la lanterne”

  21. March 31, 2020 8:50 pm

    When you stand on a station platform and watch a noisy, dirty, inefficient diesel loco pulling a load of freight through and then realise that modern cars are so efficient that, if you can hear them at all, it’s just tyre and wind noise, you do wonder…

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      March 31, 2020 9:54 pm

      It’s all energy, John. It has to be generated somewhere. I guess you wouldn’t want to be standing in the turbine hall of any major power station supplying the energy to your ‘efficient’ loco.
      Which is not to say that clean, efficient means of transportation shouldn’t be found. We are a long way from dirty steam power, but be careful what you wish for.

    • Iain Reid permalink
      April 1, 2020 7:34 am


      noisy, dirty, inefficient diesel versus efficient modern cars. Where do you get that idea from?

      The much touted efficiency of electric vehicles is false. Yes, electric motors are efficient compared to an internal combustion engine, but bear in mind the electric motor is at the end of a very long chain that powers it, starting with a thermal power station (No, not wind, solar or nuclear). Generally gas stations are efficient when run properly but with the balancing duties they have to do this makes them less so. Don’t forget the transmission, distribution, rectification, inversion and power controller losses before the motor can do it’s work.

      Fuel direct to motive power has a lot going for it.

  22. Jason permalink
    March 31, 2020 9:15 pm

    Read the appalling government backed document, Absolute Zero. NO UK airports by 2050. No shipping.

    If you wondered how they were going to get from here to there globally……we are now finding out.

    At least Absolute Zero freely admits there are no technologies that will replace current energy methods to sustain modern life. Staggering. And Boris & Co endorse this evil. Farage doesn’t seem to have a clue what’s really going on. Surprised.

    • Jason permalink
      March 31, 2020 9:19 pm

      A shadowy world government has been up and running for years. And don’t think for one moment China and Russia aren’t in on it.

    • Robert Christopher permalink
      March 31, 2020 9:28 pm

      Absolute Zero is a very valuable document. It describes what sort of things need to be done to meet Zero Emissions by 2050.
      Ill informed people are very eager to ‘Save The World’, but reading the document should make them wary of what needs to be done.
      Promote the document, as it should bring home to the people the ordinary things they and their descendants will miss.
      I heard a new owner of an electric car complained that it couldn’t get to one of his common destinations without recharging. 🙂

  23. Huw T permalink
    March 31, 2020 9:32 pm

    No government will survive any attempt to introduce a net zero totalitarian state. I am hoping that perhaps there is one silver lining to the Covid 19 crisis and that is that governments across the world will be forced to look for solutions to real problems and not the poisonous imaginary nonsense that comes from the likes of the CCC or the reprobates in the Extinction Rebellion.

    • Jason permalink
      April 1, 2020 2:03 am

      Forget elections, they’re irrelevant! All parties go along with this, and anyway…look how they’re in the process of closing Britain’s smaller airports with a ‘pandemic’ instead of a vote. Watch Easyjet, Ryannair et al go bust…followed by Gatwick, Luton and Stansted. Meanwhile…Brexit shelved for 5 years maybe?

  24. Coeur de Lion permalink
    March 31, 2020 10:27 pm

    When CO2 levels don’t go down – then what ? We all burst into tears ? Arrange for personal protection for the Climate Change Committee?

    • March 31, 2020 11:08 pm

      To the nearest hundredth of one percent of the atmosphere, CO2 was 0.04% in 1990 and today it’s…0.04%. Press the panic button 😂

      • Mack permalink
        April 1, 2020 5:29 am

        That made me smile Oldbrew. The essence of the non-problem succinctly put!

      • Eddie P. permalink
        April 1, 2020 4:26 pm

        It would help if you quoted where you got these numbers from telling as they are. As it stands they could be said to have been just plucked out of the air and made up.

      • Broadlands permalink
        April 1, 2020 5:48 pm

        For Eddie P. The CO2 numbers are available from the Mauna Loa Observatory in parts-per-million. 1990: ~354. Today: ~415…about 17%. CO2 since pre-industrial 280 ppm.. up 45%

        Global temperature since 1900 up ~6%. Panic button?

      • mikewaite permalink
        April 1, 2020 9:24 pm

        With respect Broadlands I think that you have overestimated the % change in global temperature. 1 degree above a 1900 level of (273 +15) in kelvin is an increase of 1/288 , = 0.34% .

  25. Graeme No.3 permalink
    March 31, 2020 11:08 pm

    “”we will use our cars less and be able to rely on a convenient, cost-effective and coherent public transport network.
    From motorcycles to HGVs, all road vehicles will be zero emission,”

    With lines like that he could have a second career as a comedian.

    • Russ Wood permalink
      April 2, 2020 5:46 pm

      Our family once had a caravan in Bala, Gwynedd. Now, this little tourist town used to have one bus a day in each direction. (At least it was a return trip). But I can’t see the British countryside served by any better public transport these days?
      I once read that first the bicycle, and later the cheap car (Ford Model T and its like) freed the inhabitants of villages to meet members of the opposite sex outside the closed village group (which probably explains the concept of the ‘village idiot’ – inbreeding?). Maybe those in power would like to see a return to those days? If they ‘knew their place’ the people (sheeple?) might be more manageable!

  26. April 1, 2020 1:05 am

    How good to know that those ruling us know so very well what we need, what we want and how we are going to live. Judging by their record so far I get a little jittery though. As they never seem to get it right. Make no mistake – if they don’t get it right they know exactly who will foot the bill. You are – yes average citizen. It’s you who is earmarked to pay for their premonitions. Nice, ain’t it?

  27. Gamecock permalink
    April 1, 2020 3:10 am

    People in 2050 will be no more subject to the dictates of today as we are for dictates from 1990. Governments control a few years. Not the future.

    Putting demands on people today over something 30 years out is truly insane. Your government is insane, and has provided documentation here.

  28. Phoenix44 permalink
    April 1, 2020 8:30 am

    Just guff, meaningless guff.

    Might as well say we’ll all ride magic unicorns to work.

    Is this really what “government” is now?

  29. mikewaite permalink
    April 1, 2020 10:51 am

    Those who get through the current crisis will emerge from their bunkers like survivors from the Blitz, gazing at the wasteland of ruined economy around them . And the answer from this pathetic Govt on the immediate tasks of reconstruction is to drop a few more bombs.

  30. It doesn't add up... permalink
    April 1, 2020 4:42 pm

    We plan to force everyone into virus spreading incubators to lower the population.

    He’s an XR stooge, surely?

  31. Mad Mike permalink
    April 1, 2020 4:58 pm

    Here’s the report.

    Click to access decarbonising-transport-setting-the-challenge.pdf

    As Paul has said, this policy is not open for discussion other than how to implement it. I think you can have a good guess who will be having an input. It must be their ultimate wet dream.

    “We will listen to transport users, collecting data and feedback on their travel preferences and choices through regular surveys and research. We will build on this knowledge to inform our decarbonisation work through workshops, regional engagement sessions and public feedback opportunities. We especially want to hear how the sector, those who use and rely on it, as well as the wider public and the Government can take the steps needed to support an accelerated shift to zero emission transport.
    We intend to host a series of workshops to work with stakeholders and representative groups to generate and test policy proposals. We will launch a public feedback opportunity for transport users and stakeholders to feed in their views on decarbonising transport, and we will conduct market research to gather data on public behaviours and inform how policy can be most effective.”

    • Mad Mike permalink
      April 1, 2020 5:01 pm

      Didn’t mean to post the whole report just the link to it. Don’t know what happened.

  32. April 1, 2020 10:37 pm

    COP 26 in Glasgow is not happening this year.

    Let’s hope Brexit talks don’t go the same way.

    • El Toro permalink
      April 2, 2020 10:21 am

      Well, with COP26 postponed there won’t be all the flights for the 25,000+ delegates and observers, All tourist flights around the world are grounded, too. Just think of the reduction in CO2!
      Now the Maldives government won’t have anything to whinge about…apart from the loss of income, maybe?

  33. M E permalink
    April 2, 2020 12:43 am

    Just in The Otago Daily Times April 2. ( International dateline)
    A Large publisher of magazines of the type which push Climate Change , ElectricCars etc etc of the P C Manifesto has just closed down permanently. The magazines for the self described elite will be out of the combat immediately.
    Please see

  34. Ivan permalink
    April 2, 2020 10:20 am

    I’m not very impressed by Figure 6 (p14). This purports to show that the GHG emissions of electric cars, bicycles and walkers are zero, as at 2018, for an intercity journey of about 650km. It is sourced to a blog post, which is not the kind of source a goverment policy paper should be citing. If you go to source, it says that the electric car emissions it shows are tail-pipe emissions. But that is not on the same basis as the train emissions, nor is it made clear in the DfT citation of it.

    The “tailpipe” emissions of bicycles and walkers are not zero for a journey like this. A typical adult emits about 1kg of CO2 per day. But when engaged in all-day heavy exercise that can increase to over 3kg per day. But that’s just the “tailpipe” emissions. If we take into account the emissions of the agriculture that grew the extra food eaten, and distribution and preparation that put it on your plate, it would be more. My rough estimate of the additional emission of cycling that journey is 5 to 10kg. That compares with 29kg that it shows for train. So lower, but far from immaterial.

    But this just reinforces what a poor exhibit this is. Few people are going to use bicycle or foot to make a 650km journey. For common use of active mode, making short trips, people typically do not eat any extra food. Rather they justify the too-much they would normally eat.

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