Review reckons that UK road transport can cut all CO2 within the next half-century
19 October 2007

Apart from a commitment to continue road-widening schemes, last week’s pre-budget report didn’t contain much news for motorists. But a much more optimistic document, which was somewhat overshadowed by the budget statement, was also released by chancellor Alastair Darling.The King Review of Low Carbon Cars says that “a complete decarbonisation of road transport is possible by 2050”.Compiled by Julia King, former head of advanced engineering at Rolls-Royce, and economist Sir Nicholas Stern, the review gives an optimistic view of the future for transport. It states: “If substantial progress can be made in solving electric vehicle technology challenges and the power sector can be decarbonised and expanded to supply a large proportion of road transport demand, around a 90 per cent reduction in emissions per kilometre would be achievable across the fleet.” It also suggested that “by 2030, emissions per kilometre could be around 50 per cent below 2000 levels”.A ‘decarbonisation’ of the power sector would suggest a major shift towards nuclear power generation in the UK.Despite the shrunken nature of the UK’s automotive R&D — especially in the mass-market vehicle sector — the King review predicts “opportunities for the UK to develop further in both licensing and supplying low-carbon technologies to the mass-market manufacturers, and as a leader in areas of the electric vehicle market”. The report also revealed the relatively small global impact of cars and vans in CO2 emissions. It stated that in 2000, cars and vans accounted for just seven per cent of CO2 emissions.As car use rises around the world, “global road transport emissions would be projected to double by 2050”, King concluded.

Hilton Holloway

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