“Transport Investment: The Zero Carbon Challenge” is part of a project led by the Green European Foundation exploring what a climate emergency economy would look like through a rethinking of trade, industry and infrastructure investment. The report exposes the uncomfortable truth that a major shift in transport infrastructure investment is needed. It quantifies the massive scale of transport infrastructure investment plans across the UK and EU and how this fails to align to existing climate targets. This highlights that whilst heavy goods transport, shipping and aviation are some of the hardest to decarbonise, demand for these transport modes are not being managed or constrained in line with climate commitments.
The report calls on transport to have far stronger carbon targets so that it is able to help drive down carbon emissions across the rest of the economy, rather than holding back the transition to zero carbon. A radical overhaul of transport infrastructure spending plans is needed so that funding is redirected from expanding capacity, to decarbonising existing transport. The report is framed ,using the Zero Carbon Policy Toolkit introduced in GEF and Green House’s August 2020 report, Trade and Investment Requirements for Zero Carbon.
“Facing up to climate reality requires governments to stop driving transport growth. It is just as irresponsible to expand transport – which leads to burning of more petrol, diesel, kerosene and heavy fuel oil – as to dig a new coal mine in Cumbria. In both cases new infrastructure stands in the way of phasing out the burning of fossil fuels. Governments must ensure investment is redirected from expanding transport to decarbonising what we have already. Continued transport capacity growth should also be classed as Ecocide.”