Let’s clean up transport – right now!

UPDATE: This consultation has concluded – thank you everyone that submitted and shared your views! Now let’s see what the end result is in the coming months.

It’s easy to feel powerless and separated from the world during these difficult times. The world has effectively ground to a halt with the Covid19 lockdown, but the challenge of climate change lives on, lurking quietly behind the pandemic. If you’re wondering what to do with the self-isolation, how does fighting climate change from the comfort of your own home sound? All it takes to clean up our roads is a simple email.

The Department for Transport and Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV for short) still have an open consultation on when to phase out sales of petrol and diesel cars. DecarboniseNow have submitted our evidence already and will be here to help the department phase out our unfit-for-purpose cars and vans. But OLEV wants your views, and now is unique chance to get involved.

EV chargingThe government currently has a ‘mission’ (not a properly enforced ban) to phase out sales by 2040. This consultation is aiming to change that to 2035, and include banning hybrid vehicles, which still use oil for fuel. While this is a big improvement, the earliest that industry and environmental campaigns alike have discovered that a sales ban could be brought in is 2030. While five years might not sound like much, not only is delaying clean transport by five years needlessly wrong, but it would actually reduce emissions twice as fast as a 2035 date, and three times as fast as a 2040 one. Road transport is also the biggest source of emissions in the UK, and accounts for over a quarter of our carbon dioxide emissions. The 2035 date is also not set in stone, and a 2040 date could still be the one that the government goes for. We must make our voices heard, and accelerate the switchover to cleaner transport.

Help us in the race to clean up our roads. The consultation is open until Friday the 31st of July, and we need you!Click this link to be taken to the consultation page. Write an email to the address provided, and let them know you care about a low carbon future. Can’t think what to write, or don’t have time to put it into your own words? We’ve got you covered – below is an example letter of the kind of things you can copy and paste (just don’t forget to write your name). If you want references for any of these facts, or would just like further reading, click here. If you want more information about our electric vehicles campaign, click here.

Cleaning up transport is one of the biggest things we can do right now to fight climate change. By writing in, you’re part of the team that beat climate change. Thanks for your help, and take care!

 

Ban on sales of conventional vehicles by 2030

Dear Office for Low Emission Vehicles,

The UK has an existential and immediate need to reduce emissions to combat climate change. The largest source of emissions is surface transport, at 23% of the UK’s emissions. The earliest possible technically feasible and societally acceptable phase out date must be implemented, which has been highlighted by National Grid, the Committee on Climate Change and the National Infrastructure Commission and many others as 2030. The 2030 ban should extend to all petrol and diesel cars and vans, and include all hybrid electric vehicles, which risk breaching long term emission goals.

Impacts of a 2030 ban include;

-A 2030 ban on conventional vehicles reduces emissions twice as quickly as a 2035 date and three times as fast as 2040.

-National Grid have stated that the UK grid could transition as easily to a 2030 ban as a 2040 one, and would actively support a 2030 ban.

-A 2030 ban saves the economy more than a 2035 or 2040 ban, up to £20bn.

-The automotive industry plans 5-8 years ahead for new car models, and can integrate 2030 more easily into its plans.

-Fully electric cars already have lower lifetime costs than conventional models and will be cheaper to buy upfront by 2025 at the latest, making them the cheapest option well before 2030.

-Over 100,000 UK based jobs could be in electric vehicle production by 2030 if the ban is brought forward and boosts the British car industry.

Barriers to a 2030 ban include;

-Scaling up manufacturing of electric vehicles.

-Political risk and misleading information about electric vehicles.

-Slower rates of adding charging points.

-The electric grid will also need investment for upgrades.

Measures required to reduce these include;

-The 2030 ban must be more binding than the current 2040 mission, and have mandatory sales targets for electric cars for each company, with these increasing every year until 2030.

-Grants for electric cars should continue out to 2025 and increase if needed. VAT should be cut for electric vehicles, which the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders estimates could save £5,600 per vehicle. Factories and production facilities should receive tax relief.

-Yearly targets for public charging infrastructure should be implemented alongside electric vehicle sales targets, and driver payment options standardised.

-The government must source the required investment  for electric grid reinforcement, and align regulatory requirements for ‘smart charging’ wherever possible.

Yours sincerely,

From manufacturing to planting trees – new campaigns!

Siemens 2.3 Megawatt Floating Offshore Wind Turbine

Visit our website today, and you might see some changes. That’s because DecarboniseNow is expanding its activities. From today, we will now be running five campaign streams across multiple sectors to fight climate change in the UK.

Electric vehicles

With transport emissions remaining the highest of any sector, and the enormous potential of electric vehicles to slash that, electric transport remains our top priority. Not only do we want to see a 2030 ban on conventional cars and vans, but we want to make sure that the strongest incentives exist for a rapid transition away from oil fuelled cars and vans. To do this want to;

-Implement a binding ban by 2030 on petrol and diesel cars and vans, including hybrids.

-Roll out stronger purchase incentives for electric vehicles, such as continuing and potentially increasing the plug in car grant and temporarily scrapping VAT on electric vehicles. Also ensure that automotive companies are required to produce a certain number of electric vehicles to move in the UK market.

-Ensuring that charging infrastructure keeps pace with this rollout, and that the electrical grid gets the reinforcement capacity it needs to upgrade for electric transport.

-Introduce fiscal incentives for electric and hydrogen HGVs.

Find out more here.

Warmer buildings

Arguably, the buildings sector has made the least progress out of any sector in the UK on reducing emissions in recent years. This is largely due to falling rates of installations of energy efficiency measures in UK homes. The government must be bold and turn this around with an ambitious home retrofit programme, slashing fuel poverty and improving living standards for millions in the process. Even with the most efficient housing stock, it is still inevitable that the UK will have to switch away from its addiction to fossil fuel heating. The UK will have to make tough decisions on whether to electrify its heating or switch to hydrogen gas – or a combination of the two. With millions of homes connected to the gas grid, this will be an enormous challenge, and is one of the biggest barriers to reducing the UK’s total emissions. We propose;

-The government currently has a target for all homes to be EPC Band C or higher by 2035, and a preferred trajectory for all non-domestic rented buildings to be EPC Band B by 2030. We want the government to commission a major government review on best practise to implement this, and commit to the necessary funding required.

-Ensure a successful implementation of low carbon heating in all new homes from 2025 or sooner.

-Ensure all off gas grid homes are switched over to heat pumps by 2030.

Find out more here.

Renewable energy

The backbone of decarbonisation, renewable energy has already taken off in the UK, defying critics to deliver a third of our electricity and going from the most expensive form of energy to the cheapest. But past successes don’t mean we can allow a job well done – the last surviving coal plants and a large fleet of gas turbines still power the UK. Ambitions plans for offshore wind power must be met with good plans for onshore wind and solar, and well as ensuring that the plans for all three turn into reality on the ground over the next decade. To avoid relying on gas to keep the lights on, we must also invest in a more flexible electricity grid that can take more variable energy flows. We must;

-Ensure government contracts provide the best deal for subsidy free onshore wind and solar.

-Ensure the deployment of the 40GW offshore wind target goes smoothly.

-Introduce a flexibility market for storage, demand side response, and other technologies to avoid relying on gas turbines for assistance power.

-Keep the UK in the pan-European Internal Energy Market, to ensure our imports and exports of wind power deliver value as cheaply as possible.

Find out more here.

Efficient manufacturing

Industrial emissions are a patchwork sector, and will require a very wide range of solutions to tackle. But making sure it’s simply used more efficiently will be a huge boost, both for emissions reductions and economic productivity. Ensuring that manufactured products are also used more efficienctly, such as being easier to repair and having longer lifetimes, will greatly reduce industrial emissions and waste. We propose;

-Introducing greater policy incentives to match the government’s 20% industrial energy efficient target for 2030.

-Implement resource efficiency standards, especially in notable wasteful sectors such as the automotive industry and construction.

Find out more here.

Afforestation

Planting more trees might seem like an obvious option, but the sheer scale and land required is a major challenge. Currently 13% of the UK is forested, and ‘hard to treat’ sectors such as the agricultural and aviation sectors are very reliant on the UK offsetting future emissions. If this land was doubled to 25% of the UK’s land area, this would offer the maximum feasible extent of forest cover, and do the most to capture the UK’s carbon emissions, and create space for nature. Therefore our goal is;

-For the UK to set a target for 25% of the UK to be forested by 2045, with relevant funding and planting rates per year supplied.

Find out more here.

There’s going to be a lot of movement in the run up to the UN climate summit in Glasgow this year. So making sure that the UK is doing everything it can on the home front will be vital to show the world how to decarbonise and how we can end climate change for good.

COP26 announcement: Our response

It’s off! The Prime Minister and none other than David Attenborough, launched the twenty sixth Conference of the Parties (aka COP26) at an event in the Science Museum this morning, in advance of the summit to be held later this year in Glasgow. Added to this was the announcement of bringing forward the ban on petrol and diesel cars and vans, notably including hybrids, from 2040 to 2035. This is a huge step forward, and we’re really proud to have been part of it, but there are some caveats that need to be considered.

First of all, 2035 is not 2030. It might be tempting to say it’s only five years difference, electric-cars-1068918_1280but with climate change being the emergency it is, and transport emissions being far and away the largest emitting sector in the UK, we really need to ask why we aren’t using 2030 as the end date. National Grid have said that the electrical grid can support the 2030 date, and fully electric vehicles are projected to be cost competitive upfront with conventional vehicles by 2025 at the latest. In short, there is no practical reason why 2035 should be considered instead of 2030, and this seems to be a precaution against potential ‘knee jerk’ reactions. Secondly, this was just an announcement of where the government is headed with this particular policy. A full consultation will be launched following today, presumably to be resolved and adopted into full policy before COP26. This does not mean this 2035 date will be set in stone, and all details may change before the policy is actually implemented – which could be good or bad, depending on which way the outcome goes.

That’s where DecarboniseNow stands, but what are we doing about it? Following up on our existing lobbying, we will be a voice in the consultation, urging the government to go faster, and outlining our ideas on how the phase out will work. We will press the government to move the ban to 2030, build up a coalition of campaigns, businesses and other interested players, and ensure the ban is enforceable, whilst making sure there are immediate measures to ensure the takeup of EVs. Even if all of this goes through, we will still be doing everything we can to ensure the rapid take-up of fully electric vehicles. But is that everything that DecarboniseNow will be doing in the future?

We also have something else to announce. DecarboniseNow is expanding its campaigns beyond electric cars. Now that we have more resources, we’re going to be expanding into a variety of low carbon campaigns. We will soon be launching campaigns on retrofitting homes, low carbon heating, wind and solar, public transport, electricity grid flexibility, resource efficiency, afforestation, HGVs, and industrial energy efficiency. This will be quite an expansion of our campaigns, but we feel we’re up to the challenge! More details to follow soon – watch this space.

In the meantime, we’re proud of the difference we’ve made, and thanks to all those who’ve helped us out so far!