We need to act now for greener transport tomorrow. The Climate Change Act 2008 stipulates that the UK must achieve an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2050 (against a baseline of total emissions in 1990) in order to mitigate the dangerous effects of climate change. Right now the domestic transport sector accounts for over twenty percent of the UK’s total green house gas emissions. By making the transport system greener and more sustainable, the UK will be better placed to achieve its emissions reduction target in the year 2050.
WasteAM’s sustainable transport podcast examines pathways towards a greener transport system in the UK. There are many challenges to overcome such as creaking urban public transport networks, lack of investment in infrastructure, dependence on the car, and congestion, yet by pursuing a sustainable transport policy agenda the UK will help ensure that the transport network of 2050 is more fuel efficient and climate-friendly.
Joddle and Max examine the direction of current transport policy and assess whether it has the potential to make travel in the UK more efficient. Topics of conversation include – electric vehicles, cycle demonstration towns, smart road pricing, biofuels, and rail privatisation.
Joddle and Max thank you for listening and invite your feedback in the comments section below. If you enjoyed the podcast you can help us spread the word with a Facebook, Twitter, or Google + like (you’ll find this immediately below this post). And…If you really enjoyed our green travel podcast you can give us a star rating or review us in the Itunes Store
Regular WasteAM readers will know that I recently went to the European Youth Meeting for Sustainable Development 2011 in Tallinn, Estonia. I was selected as a UK delegate to participate in a working group on waste management, helping to shape a declaration which will be submitted to the Rio 20+ international environmental summit taking place in 2012.
Now, I will be honest with you. I could write some self-promotional prose, gushing about how inspiring the conference was and how lucky I was to take part in it. It is sometimes very tempting to write about news that way, as you won’t offend anybody. But in this case I’ll speak my mind.
All the interesting content of the 5-day conference could have been compressed into two days. Too much of the conference was wasted on pomp and ceremony with a lot of time wasting in between sessions. There wasn’t much substance to the 9-hour days; just a lot of waiting around for someone to give a speech.
It was more of a youth conference than a sustainable development conference. They seemed more interested in getting you to sign up to future youth caucuses (a sort-of play politics) than actually exploring the environmental issues suggested by the conference title, in any meaningful depth.
The waste management working group was the single interesting aspect of the conference. I enjoyed sharing ideas and opinions with the other people in the working group. Nobody was expert on the subject (this had its pros and cons) but most were at least waste fanatics, which meant they were enthusiastic about proposing policy ideas that would change our wasteful cultures and squanderous, short-term mindset that wastes resources today and doesn’t consider tomorrow.
I had the expectation that (most) of my European friends would have a more radical standpoint on the waste issue than myself. I found quite the opposite to be true. The outlooks expressed were totally dependent on the nationality of delegate. Those from poorer nations with underdeveloped infrastructure wanted improved recycling facilities. You can keep improving recycling but it doesn’t serve to change the behaviour which causes us to waste a lot in the first place.
Until most people can think beyond recycling, they are unable to think about the bigger picture.
A lot of my proposals didn’t make it into the final declaration (we voted on consensus). Moreover, the policy proposals that make it into the final document are a watered-down version of the things we proposed. This is a missed opportunity – shouldn’t a youth voice be ambitious and distinctive?
There was no consensus to incorporate a policy proposal to prevent rich countries from sending their toxic waste to developing countries. There wasn’t enough in it to make manufacturers accountable for the waste and crap they produce and we buy. We didn’t even discuss industrial waste. We also weren’t bold enough to ban the use of PVC in consumer goods.
I posted our recommendations yesterday and invite your comments! Over the next few weeks I’ll explore our policy proposals in greater depth
Here are the recommendations of the Waste Management working group I participated in at the European Youth Meeting for Sustainable Development in Estonia 2011. What do you think?
I welcome your comments on our policy ideas to tackle waste, and will also be going into greater depth to explain the thinking behind the proposals in future posts