Plane, train or automobile? The climate impact of transport is surprisingly complicated
Senior lecturer, Dr Laurie Wright, explores how transport contributes to the UK's CO2 emissions, and the effects of these different types of transport on climate change.
The 2020s will have to involve some very big decisions about transport – the UK’s most polluting sector. The UK government’s response so far has been erratic, choosing to intervene to prevent the collapse of Flybe (Europe’s biggest regional airline) and give the green light for the high-speed rail project, HS2.
Decarbonising transport would eliminate 26% of UK CO₂ emissions that come from how people get around. But Prime Minister Boris Johnson recently said that doing this poses “difficult and complicated” questions. On this, Johnson is almost certainly right.
The gilets jaunes protests against fuel duty rises in France show the delicate balancing act between decisive climate action and continued economic growth and convenience. But shouldn’t the government allow a regional flight operator to fail and invest in high-speed rail instead? The answer is not so simple.