The Stockholm Environment Institute at the University of York has published a new study outlining ways in which transport emissions could be significantly reduced. The study, ‘Towards a Zero Carbon Vision for UK Transport’, has the potential to reduce transport emissions by 76 per cent in the next 40 years.
These plans could potentially cut emissions in road and rail transport by 100 per cent, and aviation emissions by 56 per cent. It also outlines ways to cut shipping emissions by 49 per cent.
David Clarke, YUSU Environment and Ethics Officer commented: “The transformation to a low-carbon economy requires visionary thinking and it’s exciting to see this kind of ground breaking research here at York. What’s more, the study’s findings are positive: a truly green transport system is entirely achievable and will make us safer, healthier and happier.”
Transport emissions are currently a quarter of all GHG (greenhouse gases) in the UK. They are also increasing faster than any other emissions sector. This is being blamed on the traditional view that transport emissions are too difficult to deal with, as transport is fundamental to our lifestyle.
However the main cause is believed to be an attitude of ‘binge flying’ and cheap airlines encouraging unnecessary flight habits. If these habits are not kept under control they could counteract any other changes made to reduce transport emissions, according to the report. A copy of the study has been sent to EasyJet and RyanAir.
The study only seeks to increase change where it has already proved effective. The authors suggest the development of communities where people can access places by foot, by cycling or on public transport. In order to see road freight reduced they argue for an increase in transport costs. They also envisage a full switch to hydrogen or electric powered vehicles and recommend a complete switch to electric rail systems based on renewable power sources.