I notice towards the end there you were talking about
£5000 advance from the Government to subsidise the car and presumably road tax
and possibly other financial incentives will be there as well?
Behaviour is determined by its consequences isn’t it?
And if you don’t put in green taxes
you’ll get a certain proportion of people who will take on this agenda
but you won’t get the mass behavioural change without giving people the incentive.
Yes we already have zero road tax for vehicles
with emissions of less than 130 grams per kilometre.
So electric vehicles come into that category
and we have in the UK an office of low emission vehicles called OLEV
which works between government departments and between national and local government.
and the idea of OLEV is to try and bring all the LEVers together.
So it’s to try and incentivise people adopting ultra low carbon vehicles
by both the rebate system, the tax, looking at things like
zero congestion charge in London for drivers of low emissions vehicles.
Looking at thing like free parking being offered in city centres,
use of bus lanes by drivers of ultra low carbon vehicles
bringing a whole range of incentives together to try and meet a target
for really stimulating both the industry in the UK but also the uptake to reduce emissions.
And every city might be different isn’t that so and size of city would vary?
Bus lanes now has that been tried anywhere?
No that hasn’t been tried yet
and of course one has to recognise that these are things that are temporary incentives.
Because as people start to take up the vehicles in significant numbers
obviously some of these early concessions would need to be withdrawn
and when you bring them in you’ve got to think about
how you are going to take that out again as well.
And yet that scarce road space that is the bus lane is under used.
That’s also true isn’t it?
If you put three people in a car or four some cities in America do that
that’s another possibility.
Yes question here I’ll favour the person with the microphone
Hello this is Stephen Wood from Stephen Wood Consultancy.
Obviously very eloquent and very convincing
but can I ask have we maybe missed an opportunity because
you talked and you showed the slide of the city and the space given over to the cars
so where are these cars going to park and we are still going to be left with congestion?
And surely the whole transport planning aspect of planning our cities has to be
given due weight and we need to be careful we’re not
giving the message that technology will solve our cities.
I absolutely agree with you I think that you can see that we need both the technology
and the planning and the encouraging us to change our behaviour.
The numbers are so big that if we only have one or two elements of that
we are not going to succeed. So absolutely it has to be all of those things.
And I think there is some very interesting modelling work
for example Chris Borroni-Bird’s book about the future of the automobile
looking actually at city cars being very small electric vehicles
that might take up on average about half the space of a current car.
And actually giving us back some of the pavement space and the road space
and the green space that’s so important in our cities.
Hello Professor King my name is Mark Rafferty Director of GoCar car sharing
we’re Ireland’s only car sharing operator and I just noticed in your slide you had a mention of …
Where do you operate?
We just launched in Dublin and we've been operating in Cork for the last 2 years
I just noticed on one of your slides
when you were talking about behavioural changes you had car clubs.
So we are quite behind the UK in terms of this
so I was just wondering if you could talk a little bit about
how successful they have been in the UK and what contribution
they are making to CO2 emissions to do with private transport?
I think the most data for how successful they’ve been
is coming from the United States at the moment.
They are growing in use in the UK particularly in London
but still not at a level where we can really look at where they make a significant impact on CO2 emissions.
That doesn’t mean then they are not a good thing you know
that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be promoting them we absolutely should! I agree with you.
So it’s very hard at the moment to find data that you can put into modelling
to show the kind of take up rates we might expect and the impact they would have
but there is beginning to be some coming out of MIT.
What has actually happened in Cork, you say you're in Cork for 2 years?
So you’re in Cork for 2 years with cars available to people who subscribe to this
rather like the Dublin Bikes presumably.
Very similar concept in the sharing capacity of them but
in terms of data what they do for what you’re talking about
in terms of changing habits is
the data shows that each car sharing car replaces about 8 private vehicles
so alleviates the need for private car ownership.
It addresses a lot of these issues less car parking spaces are needed in the city
because people are sharing the cars.
It also changes people’s habits as in they look at public transport
and walking and cycling and things like that as a first option
and then when that doesn’t suit them they use in our case a GoCar
but in other cases whatever services they use.
It gets you away from using your private car
as your first point of reference when you want to take a journey
it addresses a lot of the issues that Professor King just brought up.
Ok. Somebody with the mike there ...
Hello my name is George Averil. I’m a private citizen at this stage.
First to thank you for your talk Professor King it was very interesting.
But you haven’t mentioned you don’t seem to have placed emphasis on public transport
in particular rail transport in the context of suburban commuter travel
in the context of intercity travel and for freight if you would care to comment?
Clearly rail transport is very important, I mean it’s hugely important
in the Southeast of England in bringing people in and out of London.
But if you look at one of my earlier slides where the emissions come from
emissions from rail in the UK account for something like 3% I think of our transport emissions.
So if you are looking at: how are we going to radically reduce emissions?
You’re looking at: how do we radically reduce emissions from cars?
If you look at the economic arguments
that relate to replacing private cars or radically increasing the rail infrastructure
there is very little economic argument that says you increase the rail infrastructure
because it’s such an expensive capital investment and because we, certainly in the UK,
we struggle to run our railways at particularly good profit margins.
From a social agenda point of view rail investment I think is hugely positive
and we should be encouraging people to move from private transport to rail.
But when you start to look at the economic case for very major
infrastructure investment in rail versus the economic case for
much lower emissions private vehicles
the economic case for the infrastructure investment is not strong.
So it’s going to be a difficult decision for governments to take
I think clearly it’s part of the overall picture
but it’s also hugely important to look at: how do we radically reduce the emissions from cars?
Somebody with the microphone ...
Can you hear me? Raoul Empy engineer.
My question is just with the electric vehicle grant system.
In Ireland we’ve essentially copied the UK
where we’ve got up to €5000 off an electric vehicle.
The difference being that we don’t manufacture cars in Ireland.
Now this grant it only works for cars in the M1 classification so
quadricycles, for example, don’t warrant a grant. What do you think of the quadricycles?
They’re more energy efficient they’re smaller cars, so surely these should also
get grants to encourage people to take them up?
They’re certainly more energy efficient and cheaper
but I think the consumer probably might ignore buying one
if they can get a grant for a more mainstream bigger car.
I suppose my personal concern is one of safety in that
if you compare the electric Smart car with some of the quadricycles
it is actually a vehicle that meets all of the European safety requirements.
And having been taken round London in one of the quadricycles it is quite frightening
the feeling that you might get stuck between two very large lorries
and they might not even notice you were there.
I think there are some safety concerns but I do think they are an important part of the mix
and I think they will be an extremely important part
of solving the emissions problems in some of the Asian countries.
In China in particular they are already manufacturing them
they’ve just opened a plant which is going to be putting out 200,000 a year.
I think the electric bicycles are also a very interesting option
and it’s very interesting to see that La Poste in France
the French postal service has gone to an all electric
philosophy and has started putting battery assist on postman’s trolleys
giving postmen electric bicycles
and it’s now just bringing in a large fleet of electric delivery vans as well.
And one of the things they seen very very positively has been a reduction in
absenteeism and work related injury from the postman using the electric assist trolleys
and the electric bicycles because actually their work is no longer so strenuous.
I do think all these things have their places
but maybe a quadricycle wouldn’t be my first choice in the centre of a large city with a lot of traffic!
In the post office too the journey length is a known quantity
just as the bread vans in this city were electric they were the first electric battery vehicles.
Yes? Somebody with the mike over here.
Hi Andrew Fleury Transpoco we make GPS tracking software.
I’d like to ask through your studies what have been your findings in relation to GPS tracking?
My own opinion is that it offers a number of facilities to introducing initiatives to
reduce mileage driven but obviously there are concerns over perceptions of
data protection violations and that sort of thing.
I’d just like to know what’re the findings in relation to data protection?
I think that it’s a hugely interesting area
it’s one of the areas I think hasn’t really been explored enough.
If you really wanted to get the kind of behaviour change we could move
to time, distance, place based road charging indeed vehicle occupancy
and emissions based road charging which would have a very radical effect on emissions.
But there would be a huge issue about the state or the company dealing with the charging
knowing an enormous amount about you and where you were.
And potentially whether you were with people or not and
I think that’s a challenge that I see governments not really yet feeling ready to address.
And do you think the change of government in Britain has made that more likely or otherwise?
I think our previous government would have found it a very sensitive area to address
and I think our current government will find it a very sensitive area to address.
That’s a fifty-fifty answer which of them would be less likely to address it?
When you talk to politicians about these things it is a hugely sensitive area
and I don’t actually think it’s particularly party dependent.
I suspect our previous government was slightly stronger on central control measures
which this fits slightly better with than the current one.
But we have some passionate supporters of the carbon reduction agenda in both governments.
Am I right in saying that Ken Livingstone who of course is a very controversial politician.
But that his charging for road space in inner London that people now believe that it works?
and that it is fair or am I wrong about that?
As somebody who has a flat in London
which was inside the extended congested charge zone which has just been repealed,
certainly those of us who live around where we are thought it was a fantastic development
because it really has reduced traffic and it has reduced parking in the areas where we live.
I’m not sure the shopkeepers on the roads around us have quite the same feelings.
But in general the people who live in London think it’s been a great idea
and it has had an enormously beneficial effect on car purchase decisions
because the number of Toyota Priuses you see driving around London
is out of all proportion actually to the amount of money they save on the congestion charge.
But it certainly has driven the purchase of low carbon cars in a very positive way.
Oisín Coughlan from Friends of the Earth, Professor King thanks for a talk that was
fascinating, alarming and inspiring in equal measure.
You mentioned you were a member of the Climate Change Committee in the UK
and I was wondering could you say a little bit about the impact of that
established under the UK Climate Act?
You may know that our outgoing Government published a Climate Change Bill recently
and there was some controversy over the targets and whether they were
more demanding than other EU targets and what the consequences of that will be.
I understand the UK Committee advised the UK Government to set its targets
at a higher more demanding level than was required under the EU 2020 targets.
So perhaps why did you do that?
And a word more generally on what you think the role of the Committee and
the law will be in driving the changes you think are required
to achieve the emissions reductions we need.
It’s a difficult challenge in advising government on this because
our Climate Change Act actually has the 2050 target of at least an 80% reduction.
We then have a pathway to 2050 which we do through a series of 5 year carbon budgets
which the Committee recommends to the government.
And in our very first recommendations we were looking to set a set of budgets
for a situation where there was no global deal at Copenhagen
and a set of harder budgets that should be moved to once there was a global deal.
Of course we didn’t get a global deal at Copenhagen and we didn’t get a global deal at Cancun
and there were changes in European targets
that were going to follow on from that global deal as well.
So we are now saying to the UK Government
“Okay we haven’t a tightening of European targets or a global deal
but we still have a 2050 target in legislation which we believe we need to aim for”.
And unless we start going for some tougher budgets targets we won’t be on the path
to the 80% reduction in 2050 and the longer we leave it to make the changes
all of the modelling suggests the more expensive it will get to do it.
So there is a strong economic argument that says
investing now in addressing some tougher targets en route
will actually get us more cheaply to the 2050 targets.
Difficulty of course with that is we don’t elect anybody to govern us ’til 2050
and governments particularly in a recession where
in the last quarter we’ve seen the UK economy shrinking
it is understandably very difficult for our politicians to keep focused on the fact
that spending now will make it cheaper to get us to 2050.
So I have a sympathy for them but I hope they
will respond to our suggestion we should have some tougher targets.
Question here yes?
Two questions one is that regarding CO2
that in the mixture on CO2 in air which we breathe is approximately 0.03%.
Now if the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is increased
it means that you upset the balance of air which we breathe
and the result is that if there is too little we will gasp to get oxygen
and if there is too much we will go sleepy.
And the fact that CO2 is heavier than air
that anything producing CO2 is floating around beside us that’s just one question.
The second one I wanted to mention too in your talk about fuels
you didn’t mention ethanol from sugar beet
and I’m very interested in the production of ethanol from sugar beet.
What are your views on these two points?
The first one on the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere
the kind of levels we are looking at I don’t believe are levels
even at the “business as usual” level moving out to 2050
we’re still looking at levels 450 to 650-700 parts per million.
I don’t believe those are levels of CO2 which will start to affect us
in terms of our respiratory systems.
But that’s not my area of expertise and if there’s anyone in the audience
who can give us a better view on that I’d welcome their input.
In terms of ethanol it came into my category of biofuels ethanol from sugar beet
I am sure there are instances where it may be a sensible thing to do with sugar beet
but in general as we move towards 2050 and needing to feed 9 billion people properly
the only sorts of biofuels that are going to be sustainable
are those I think that can be made from waste
because we’re going to need all of the good agricultural land
to be producing food products rather than fuel products
where we have alternatives for the fuel.
But I think the routes where we can separate the protein and use the waste
the routes to biofuel where we can use waste food or we can use waste from cities
or the routes to biofuel where we can use sewage as a route to generating biofuel
I think will all be important we haven’t yet cracked doing those things
at the kind of scale that makes them a global transport fuel.
But there will be local regions where that may well be a regional, a very sensible local, solution
so we may well have visions for cities where cities are surrounded by anaerobic digesters
and waste pyrolysis plants which are producing bio-hydrogen and bio-methane
which can then be used to run the bus service or indeed run the dust carts in the city
and that may well be a good local solution.
Thank you for that point, just making a point
about the sugar beet industry in Ireland which has closed really.
Thank you very much for your contribution
There is of course blue skies thinking on a lot of this
and different countries and experts in different places are attempting solutions
some of which of course would be commercially applicable if they were successful
Isn’t that right?
So a breakthrough is always possible and one size may not fit all as well?
We need lots of breakthroughs and in a way I think some of the
competition we have between technologies and solutions is actually very healthy
because a degree of stimulating people to prove each other wrong
I think actually generally gets scientists and engineers
to deliver things we perhaps weren’t expecting and that’s very positive.
Yes with the microphone there.
Thank you Professor King. Tom Bruton is my name. I represent the Irish Bio Association
you’ve started to touch briefly on the topic of biofuel.
Certainly looking out to 2050 there's a lot of challenges ahead
but we’ve very short term policy target which by 2020 we have to reach 10%
transport fuel displacement with biofuel or electric vehicles from fossil fuel
and the vast majority of that is probably still going to happen from biofuel in the short term.
I like the example of the electric vehicles were introduced in the Aran Islands a couple of weeks ago
and the question is then asked well the car or the truck that brought the vehicles down to Galway
and the boat that brought them out to the Aran Islands
both ran on diesel and they have no alternatives at the moment
to the fossil fuel they’re putting in their engine.
So the question is: where are we going to get all this biofuel without importing it?
And do you see a particular application for biofuels there
because electric vehicles are only going to solve a smaller part of the problem? Thank you.
I think there will be a role for biofuels as I’ve said I think they will in general
as we get further out be biofuels that need to be made from wastes of various kinds
and potentially biofuels that come from the growth of algae
rather than biofuels that take up land for food farming.
You are absolutely right the electric vehicles may be a very good solution
for the passenger car end of the spectrum but as we move to
large vans and into lorries and ships and indeed aircraft
we’re going to have to find different solutions and one I think as we go out to 2050
the area where we will I think up end up using most biofuel will be in aviation
because the rates of growth of aviation are predicted to continue to be enormous
and there aren’t alternative technology solutions available.
There is improvement in efficiency but it isn’t the levels of 50%
and given that aircraft lives are of the order of 25 years
and aircraft and engines design lives are often longer than that
we haven’t actually got much time for turnover of technology in aviation.
So biofuels if we are going to be able to maintain
anything like the growth rates in aviation we’re seeing at the moment
they are going to be an enormous user of biofuels.
I’ll take three more questions yes ...
Thanks very much for your talk and indeed all the responses to the questions.
James Nix Irish Environmental Network Can Plan Better.
Just a two-part question
In the first place do you see an increasing crossover with transport policy and healthcare?
We see massive increases in obesity rates particularly child obesity
I think in some schools in Ireland it’s almost a third of children now are either overweight or obese
and I just didn’t see a tie-in and I’m wondering do you see a tie-in and do you see it growing?
Second part then is if active travel will play a greater part I’m talking about walking and cycling
is there work done in the UK and what percentage it will rise to?
What kind of numbers are you looking at? Thanks.
It would certainly be good to see that kind of systems thinking going on
to link the opportunities for walking and cycling to the improving health.
And whilst we do see some of that in the UK
and perhaps the fact that we can buy bicycles out of our pre-tax income
through a government scheme is a small part of that I think we don’t see enough of it.
It would be good to see much more joined up thinking between
politicians and bureaucrats in different government departments.
In terms of modelling the increase in take up of cycling and walking
there has been some work done in the UK
in the initiative to look at sustainable travel planning.
We had a number of sustainable travel town pilots
where people went to every household in the town
and explained to them where the cycle routes were, where the buses ran from,
where they went to, where the nearest station was,
where the train timetables could be accessed.
And they saw significantly increased uptake of public transport and cycling
and after 3 years I think, a persistent reduction in road traffic of about 4 or 5%.
And we have tried to encourage the UK Government
to roll out that pilot further and to look at sustainable travel cities
but unfortunately that was one of the things that got cut in the budget cuts.
So that’s not something we’ll be seeing and there are some NGOs in the UK
people like the Commission for Integrated Transport
who unfortunately have also gone as part of the budget cutting
who have done some studies of that sort
but I don’t think that there’s an enormous amount of data I’m afraid in that area.
When permission is being given or when something is being built
say like a light rail system within a city. I know that doesn’t happen that often but
I know there were one or two Norwegian cities
where cyclists can put their bicycles on the back of the tram free.
That sort of initiative anything which helps the cyclist is positive isn’t it?
But it needs to be done at the beginning.
If you have the mike I’m pointing at you ...
In order to get here I had to travel 100 miles and some days I travel 500 miles
so battery is not very attractive to me. I regret that.
I have here the equivalent of your MOT in Ireland our NCT Test
and what it actually shows is that the introduction you may be familiar with
the magnet technology
but with that it shows that we got a 50% reduction in emissions.
We actually also got a 15% saving in fuel
but with the lowering of surface tension of fluids meaning diesel, petrol, gas,
why aren’t these devices being promoted heavily?
And I’ve been at an SEI meeting, Sustainable Energy Ireland meeting,
and I’ve actually been accused of being a snake oil merchant.
I’m asking the question a straight way: have you an interest in this?
The question is how can we in the interim trying to move
how can we get useful technology like this promoted?
And just very quickly on the battery side of it
in 1930 Nikola Tesla who gave us this alternating current here
had an electric engine put into a substantial car
and he had no batteries at all but he had very clever technology
so I am wondering I am asking the question here:
are we being had into another game to extract more money out of us?
Because I think the technology is there to do away with batteries, thank you.
- And I think you’re right. -
I should be fascinated to hear how you are going to
store the energy if you’re not going to be using either a battery or
a conventional fuel of some kind.
But if there is a solution to that we’ll all be very pleased to hear it.
Richard Walsh from Alternative Biofuels Ireland
I’d just like to welcome Professor King here tonight and thank you for a very informative presentation.
There are a number of points I’d like to make
and pick up on some of the biofuels points that were made here this evening.
Your presentation mainly focussed on electric cars which I welcome
however the portfolio is much bigger
I would suggest that you won’t get more than 5% take up on the electric cars
and it doesn’t really serve Ireland’s CO2 targets.
We need a much bigger hit to meet those targets we’ve a target of 60%...
Do I hear a question coming?
The point I want to make on the sugar beet we did lose the sugar beet
and biofuels especially ethanol.
And the UK actually is not moving in the direction of France, Germany, Poland, Spain
and Sweden and I’d just like to make that point to you
that ethanol is being promoted heavily in these countries and Stockholm in particular
is leading the way in public transport as regarding the conversion of its bus fleets.
So I think it would be advantageous
that when we are making presentations that we look at holistic
lessons learned from other countries so that was just a point I make.
The second point I want to make is that there is a misconception…
A question please.
The question I have actually is that
would you like to comment on the fact that Ireland doesn’t produce
one mill-able tonne of wheat in the last 4 years
and why would we be labelled that there is an issue with biofuels in this country
when there is not?
There will always be local solutions that are appropriate in particular places.
In Brazil they have a fairly sustainable
situation with some of the bio-ethanol produced from sugarcane.
But there is always a danger with transport fuels
that global demand is such an enormous global market
that there is always the temptation that you cut down more rainforests
to expand the area where you can grow the sugarcane.
So you know I think the Brazilians with the right legislation
can have a sustainable local bio-ethanol economy for cars.
I worry that if it becomes an international transport fuel
we will see more of the forest being removed.
But I think local solutions can be very effective I don’t know enough about
the agriculture in Ireland to know what local solutions might be effective for you.
But in almost every location, in almost every city
some kind of carbon containing waste to energy plants are a good idea
and in particular as I say anaerobic digestion and pyrolysis which can take
waste as diverse as sewage and food waste and excess whatever.
Excess sugar beet if that’s what it is and turn all of those into bio-methane,
hydrogen, other kinds of biofuels that can be used for power generation or vehicle fleets.
I agree they can be good local solutions.
Thank you.Good evening Professor
Seeing you’re from Manchester and Birmingham
it is interesting that we have a country that had similar populations to
Manchester and Birmingham and so many government officials running it;
I think the government officials are very often spoken to and guided by the academics
who with absolute respect talk a lot of balderdash and bull.
So what we’ve got here is some smart people talking about bio-energy
conservation of power of use of vehicles, electric vehicles are a great idea
but actual reduction of number of people
90% have a car carries the car and 1% of it carries the person inside the car.
So we’ve got this nonsensical situation…
The question is why do we not listen to the people like the bio-energy people
I’m a landowner a producer I’ve a choice to make
do I grow sugar beet, do I grow willow, do I grow miscanthus, or do I grow food?
And there’s 50 contradictions
and a heap of balderdash spoken with every respect there’s my point.
There’s an easy question to conclude with now!
Well I wouldn’t be foolish enough I’m afraid to try and advise you on
what you should grow I just don’t know enough about
the local markets and the economy I’m afraid.
On that point I’d like to thank very much our speaker tonight Julia King
she has an excellent ability to use the three little words
that my wife keeps telling me are the second three most important words
“I don’t know”.
She thinks I don’t use them enough! Thank you very much indeed Julia.
0:00:00 / 0:00:00
Prof. Julia King, Aston University.
Sustainable transport - Q&A