Getting to grips with decarbonising transport

Barry White

Decarbonising transport is an essential part of the UK’s plan to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The UK has committed to phase out the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030. Transport is the largest contributor to UK greenhouse gas emissions, responsible for 24% of total emissions in 2019.

Against this background the Government is shortly to publish its Transport Decarbonisation Plan in the run up to the COP26 Climate Summit in Glasgow. Last year it established the Zero Emission Vehicle Transition Council, bringing together ministers and governments representing some of the world’s biggest car markets, see:

Last month, the Green Finance Institute launched the Coalition for the Decarbonisation of Road Transport (CDRT) bringing together global experts and leading figures from the finance, automotive, energy and infrastructure sectors to accelerate the transition to zero emission vehicles.

The Coalition aims to unlock private finance necessary for transport decarbonisation to happen quickly and big enough to solve the problem, together with finding the funding required to support the transition to zero emission vehicles.

It is estimated that more than £150 billion of gross capital investment may be required to decarbonise the UK road transport sector between 2021 and 2030, requiring a significant acceleration in the rate of investment into zero-carbon transport solutions.

The Coalition will focus on developing finance solutions initially in three core areas: Consumer finance and leasing (closing the gap between the cost of electric compared to fossil-fuel vehicles); Electrical Vehicle charging infrastructure (the Institute estimates that to meet growing demand more than 6.7 million chargers are required, at a total cost of over £20 billion) and; the commercialisation of battery technology (the UK urgently needs to scale up current levels of investment into battery manufacturing to build a globally competitive battery sector.)

The CDRT brings together the public and private sectors, academia and non-profit organisations. More details about them and the report may be found at:

Meanwhile a consulation paper has been launched by Transport for the North (TfN) which sets out the goal of achieving near zero carbon emissions from surface transport by 2045. It closes on Tuesday 31 August and details are at:

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