Professor of Transport Governance
Area of work, and why it’s important:
I look at the introduction of policies to decarbonise the surface transport sector. Transport is responsible for around a quarter of CO2 emissions globally, with around three-quarters of that from surface transport. Despite 30 years of technological progress, emissions have continued to increase as savings have been more than offset by growth in demand and less efficient use of vehicles. There is a decade, at most, to turn this around drastically.
What will you be doing at COP26?
We have been working with the Department for Transport to inform the national transport decarbonisation plan for England and with the major sub-national transport body Transport for the North to set out their decarbonisation goals. The DecarboN8 network, which I coordinate will be at a range of COP26 events talking about how we move from accepting the scale of the problem in strategies to doing things very differently. See all of the events we are involved in.
What are your hopes for the COP26 negotiations?
International momentum on agreeing nationally determined contributions to CO2 reductions is critical. Without this, there is insufficient imperative for governments to take the difficult choices necessary to change path on transport.
Any tips for readers about climate action?
We need systemic change as well as individual action. However, there are things that you can do. Ask yourself how you could cut car-based mileage by 20% and whether you can fly less if you really need to fly. Go for longer but less often, for example. Finally, talk to people about the issue. This transition cannot be done by government to people, we need to move forward together.
Anything else you want us to know?
We need action on all fronts. Rapid electrification, mode shift away from the individual car and demand reduction (e.g. teleworking). It is not either/or and there are no strategies which are exclusively ‘win-win’. There are positive pathways out there which are still reachable but that window is closing. See one of my other projects with other colleagues in Leeds and across the country for more details https://low-energy.creds.ac.uk/