“We have to do things very differently”, transport researcher Jillian Anable told the Royal Meteorological Society’s Climate Change Forum in London last week. “It’s not about celebrating electric vehicles.”
Cars are “getting bigger and heavier”, Anable warned, meaning that “it will take longer to decarbonise the system”. Of new car sales globally, 46% are SUVs.
For every electric car sold, 10-15 large vehicles are sold: they “negate the effect of that electric vehicle many times over”. Moreover, half the electric cars sold are plug-in hybrids, which use “a great deal” of petrol and diesel.
No country has “achieved the speed and scale of reductions [in greenhouse gas emissions] that we now need”, Anable, professor of Transport and Energy at the University of Leeds, said. And no country has “achieved deep and long-term reductions [in transport emissions] without restricting car use.”
Anable was one of several researchers at the Forum who addressed the yawning gap between government declarations about climate change, and the snail’s pace of action – the gap that has infuriated, and motivated, the new generation of protesters from Greta Thunberg to Just Stop Oil.
Transport, the built environment and the food chain – three areas of gigantic fuel consumption – were covered in detail. Adaptation (coping with the effects of climate change) was considered along with mitigation (how to minimise the level of global heating).
Built environment researcher Alice Moncaster launched a broadside against the culture of demolish-and-build, as opposed to retrofitting existing buildings.Read the rest of this entry »