A cleaner, fairer, safer future

Transport Knowledge Hub logo Published on: 10th March 2022 by Claire Haigh.

Climate change is no longer a distant threat.  As we experience extreme weather events of increasing ferocity and frequency, we can hear its impacts knocking ever more loudly and insistently on our door.

Have we heard the wake-up call?  COP26 was a partial success in that it kept the goal of 1.5 degrees Celsius alive.  But the world needs to go much further.

The latest IPCC report[i] has been described as ‘an atlas of human suffering’.  The report’s publication last week would have been top of the news agenda, had the unfolding tragedy in Ukraine not dominated media attention. However, the stranglehold that dependency on Russian gas holds over NATO member states only serves to underline the imperative that we reduce our dependency on fossil fuels.

We need a massive shift to clean technologies, but we must also reduce energy demand. The International Energy Agency describes demand reduction as “the first fuel”.  Energy demand reduction supports the key goals of energy policy: security, affordability and sustainability[ii].  However, policy has been heavily skewed to technological solutions.

Transport is the fastest growing source of global greenhouse gas emissions and the biggest polluting sector of the UK economy.  A technology led approach has delivered little progress since 1990.  The key conclusion of our Manifesto for Decarbonising Transport was that Government must turn its focus to behaviour change and demand reduction. The Foundation for Integrated Transport is providing grant funding to support Greener Transport Solutions in developing recommendations that will deliver the necessary traffic reduction.

The Pathways to Net Zero programme begins with a series of roundtable discussions this Spring sponsored by Trueform, followed by a consultation with the Transport Knowledge Hub community over the summer and a final report in the autumn. The programme is being overseen by the Greener Transport Council of leading academics and experts.

Our new report Pathways to Net Zero: Building a framework for systemic change published today outlines the main conclusions from our research and sets out the key themes and questions for discussion.  The central proposition is that we need a whole systems transition to net zero. This will require a paradigm shift in how we think about decarbonising transport.

We hope that you will be able to participate in our Pathways to Net Zero programme and would welcome any feedback at info@greenertransportsolutions.com

[i] https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar6/wg2/

[ii] https://www.iea.org/topics/energy-efficiency

About the Author

This post was written by Claire Haigh. CEO of Greener Transport Solutions & Executive Director of the Transport Knowledge Hub. Claire was previously CEO of Greener Journeys (2009-2020).