No Carbon Targets here, please

Yesterday, Chris Huhme, the Energy and Climate Change Secretary, announced ambitious plans to massively reduce Britain’s carbon emissions by the mid 2020s.

He wants the UK to halve carbon emissions, compared to 1990 levels, by the period 2023-2027. The intention is to reduce them by 80% by 2050.

David Cameron backed him up, saying “The transition to a low-carbon economy is necessary, real, and global. By stepping up, showing leadership and competing with the world, the UK can prove that there need not be a tension between green and growth.”

Meanwhile Philip Hammond, Transport Secretary is continuing to push a scheme that will cost £17 billion by 2027, and will be, in his words, “broadly carbon neutral”.

HS2 clearly does not help with the country’s targets for climate change.

It will involve spending huge sums of money that could have otherwise been used for developing genuinely low-carbon forms of transport. It will cause carbon emissions during it’s construction.

And if it really is part of a longer term plan to create a countrywide network of ultra high speed railways, it will commit the governments of the future to a costly set of transport plans which hinder not help in their efforts to reduce carbon emissions.

Shouldn’t the Government rethink HS2?

5 comments to “No Carbon Targets here, please”
  1. It’s about time that politicians and commentators moved the emphasis form ‘carbon emissions’ onto ‘resource depletion’ and the impending energy crunch. This brings with it a much greater sense of urgency.

    See this article on VoxOpp –

    If David Cameron really believes we can have continued economic growth without cheap fossil fuels, then an Eton and Oxford education are not what they’re cracked up to be!

      • That was just one night in April. I noted the words ‘unusual’ and ‘fault’ in the report. They sound strangely familiar. In the coldest part of the winter, in anticyclonic conditions, the wind turbines remained still. The BBC article also has the quotes ‘Government must rethink’ and ‘costly and very wasteful’ from a director of REF. That sounds familiar too.

    • They don’t have to be educated. That implies they can think and more important speak for themselves. They just carry on with the old boys debateing societies and then do what the civil service tell them to do.
      If they do dare speak for themselves they get whipped . Bang goes their career. Oh sorry, aren’t they there for the good of ‘the people’ and the benefit of the Nation, not their career?

      • AA Government Rethink?

        Yes I think so.

        The Hs2 scheme is so extreme that its route has to be uncompromising in its straightness. A lesser speed could permit some flexibility in reducing its impact.

        A reduction of the maximum speed by 50 mph should ‘when combined with ever evolving HS design technology,could reduce significantly the energy requirement, making it more “green”, while still producing a speed equal to the latest worldwide.

        It could also make it easier to reconsider the possibility of building an intermediate “parkway”station between Old Oak Common and Birmingham International -even if this would require a stretch of four track railway some ten miles long, to allow trains to slow and accelerate to full line speed without consuming extra “paths” and delaying nonstop services.

        There is so much concern and downright opposition to the HS scheme (leaving aside for the moment the fact that much of this opposition is based on overblown fears stoked up by those determined that nothing should be built, ever) that, if the Government is to proceed, then some degree of compromise. on all sides is needed.

        To many people, a major objection is that they will suffer all the disruption, the possible noise and visual effects and depressed property prices, all this without any apparent benefit to them or their commumities. They will suffer “all of the pain for no possible gain”. “Why should we endure this intrusion?” they ask.

        But provide access to the line by means of a station…

        Many attitudes change. “That would be different ” they have said to me.

        Experience in other routes gives support. In East Anglia and along the M4 corridor Electrification and the introduction of the HsT fleet, th”sparks effect” and “the nosecone effect” boosted both rail use and property prices.

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