Behaviour change ‘as important’ as electrification in transport decarbonisation, say experts
Behaviour change will play an equal or greater role than technology in the transition to net zero for transport.
So say the majority of transport experts in a survey held for yesterday’s Zemo Partnership Annual Conference.
The organisation’s research, carried out earlier this month among 200 stakeholder experts, showed most believe that the decarbonisation of UK road transport by 2050 is possible, but a significant majority (66%) say that policies so far enacted or announced are not enough.
And while the electrification of road transport is an important component of the transition, respondents believe there needs to be more focus on behavioural measures to achieve the goal.
Around 58% of respondents said that behaviour change will deliver as much, or greater, carbon reductions than technology.
At the Zemo event, held yesterday (2o July) and attended by more than 600 delegates, transport minister Rachel Maclean, a leading government proponent of the Transport Decarbonisation Plan announced last week, said: “COP26 will be a crucial moment to test our global commitment to fight rising temperatures and prevent irreversible damage to our planet. In the UK, nothing short of a green industrial revolution will do.”
Zemo’s conference featured responses to the plan from a wide range of leading stakeholders including Huw Merriman, chair of the Transport Select Committee, David Bunch, Shell’s new UK country chair and Professor Sir Dieter Helm of Oxford University.
Zemo Partnership also revealed how its new acceleration programme will see the organisation work on the detail of many of the 78 commitments seen in the Transport Decarbonisation Plan.
Chief executive Andy Eastlake explained: “Our new acceleration programme of key projects and new initiatives embraces the much wider range of stakeholders needed and their appetite to accelerate the pace of change, not only in terms of technology, but of energy, infrastructure, information and behaviour. We aim to deliver this using hard evidence, clear targets and widespread engagement.
“As transport, technology and systems converge, so does our need to think differently. Operating in our traditional, closed silos is no longer enough.
“The TDP has set the finish line and fired the starting gun. We are now all in a race against the climate change clock in which no one can get left behind.”
Other key interim findings from the survey of stakeholder experts announced at the Zemo Partnership Conference are:
- More than 70% of respondents think that the 2030/5 phase-out dates for the sale of new cars and vans are realistic (17% have already made the switch, while 53% feel the timing is ‘about right’)
- Nearly 70% of respondents think that they will be able to cut their household’s carbon emissions from travel to zero (or near zero) by the Government’s 2050 target date. However around 15% think it’s unrealistic
- Over 66% of respondents think that there will be cost effective zero emission technologies available to allow the delivery of goods by 2040. However, a significant minority (30%) think it will be 2050 – or even later – before such technologies are available