Transport Decarbonisation Strategy - Green Angel Syndicate Briefing

Transport Decarbonisation Strategy - Green Angel Syndicate Briefing

14th July 2021

Today, the Government has announced its Transport Decarbonisation Strategy. While some of the contents were already released, such as the plan to remove the internal combustion engine from cars in the UK by 2030, there are other areas which have been long awaited, over which huge uncertainty hovered. Crucially, Aviation. Here, we find a commitment to make domestic flight emission-free by 2040, and international flight the same by 2050. Lorries are another long-awaited bone of contention. Road haulage does not lend itself to electrification, and had not been included in the ruling to ban the internal combustion engine from our roads by 2030. Instead, we find here a commitment to end the use of diesel driven lorries by 2040.

Comment on the timings is unnecessary. Voices are already loud in condemnation of the delays in these measures. 2040 is too late for emission-free domestic flight, 2050 is much too late for international flight. The damage done between now and then by continued flights, even if they are restricted (which there are not plans to do) will contribute materially to the problems we are already facing. Lorries similarly cannot be allowed to continue to add to global warming while we wait until 2040 for them to adapt to the requirements of our new world conditions.

The key point Green Angel Syndicate makes is that the timing of these changes is entirely dependent on successful innovation. The faster we can introduce alternatives, the faster we can make the changes effectively and economically. Aviation fuel replacement will almost certainly require renewable electricity of one kind or another. We at Green Angel Syndicate have looked at some ideas, none of which have seemed viable to us. But the pace of invention is accelerating all the time, not least among the aviation industry itself. We need more, and faster.

Lorries will almost certainly be best served by hydrogen based alternatives. We are already seeing innovation in the hydrogen sector increasing enormously, as a result of the public sector's growing interest in it. Green Angel Syndicate is actively encouraging hydrogen projects to apply for funding.

If the Transport Decarbonisation Strategy can be associated with the rapid pace of innovation, it might be possible to bring forward some of the disappointing timing targets.

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