The United Kingdom has published plans to decarbonize transportation by the middle of the century.


The United Kingdom has published plans to decarbonize transportation by the middle of the century.

Britain announced plans to decarbonize its transportation infrastructure on Wednesday, saying it will phase out the sale of all polluting road vehicles by 2040 and commit the aviation sector to a net zero emissions target by 2050.

As the country prepares to host the key COP26 climate summit in November, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the ideas will create a “credible pathway” for the entire transportation industry to attain net zero by mid-century.

Last year, Prime Minister Boris Johnson proposed a 10-point plan to combat climate change called “a green industrial revolution,” which includes prohibiting the sale of new gasoline and diesel vehicles by 2030.

The government has stated that it will phase out the sale of heavier vehicles over the next decade – or sooner if a speedier transition appears to be viable.

Meanwhile, it plans to make domestic flights and all airports in England carbon neutral by 2040, and international flights carbon neutral by 2050.

Its newly established “Jet Zero consultation” will look into the rapid development of developing sustainable technologies.

In a written declaration to parliament, Shapps stated, “We must deliver a step change in the breadth and size of our aim to decrease transportation’s GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions to net zero.”

“For all modes of transportation, the proposal released today is actually high ambition – technically and feasibly,” he continued.

According to Shapps, wholesale decarbonization will rely in part on future transportation technologies, as well as behavioural and societal changes.

As part of the initiative, the government has pushed up the deadline for its 40,000 cars and vans to be totally zero-emission to 2027, three years earlier than intended.

The statement comes ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland, in November, where Britain hopes other countries would agree to similarly aggressive goals.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI), a business lobbying organization, praised the measures but emphasized that they must be supported by credible plans to speed up the development of clean technologies.

Greenpeace UK, an environmental campaigning group, praised the goals but encouraged the government to shift its attention away from roads and toward rail and other forms of “active transportation.”

“The net zero targets in aviation are great, but getting there only through technological breakthroughs is a pretty big wager on extremely long odds,” said Doug Parr, the company’s chief scientist.

“If the advances don’t materialize, we need a mechanism to achieve the same emissions reductions, and that mechanism can’t be offsetting.”


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