Mike Waters' Blog: 16 September 2008 - King Review sets carbon challenge
16 September 2008
Mike Waters is head of market analysis at Arval
With transport making up the second largest contributor to CO2 emissions after energy, and pretty much the only area predicted to grow over the coming years (hardly a surprise given that by 2050 India and China will have 1.5 billion cars) it provides an area that must be addressed.
This is a view that is shared by Professor Julia King, reinforced through her recent review of low-carbon cars. The recommendations included in the King Review are wide ranging, challenging and likely to have a profound and long lasting impact on fleets. The conclusion of the review is that by 2050 we should have reduced our CO2 emissions by a massive 80%.
I listened to Professor King speak at a conference a few weeks ago and she is adamant that this figure, whilst challenging, is achievable. What is really interesting is that by 2030 she expects us to have achieved a 30% reduction in CO2, made up primarily of vehicle efficiencies. So she is saying that we can reduce our emissions by nearly a third without a wholesale switch to alternative fuels.
In the short term she has pinpointed areas such as vehicle weight, aerodynamics, tyres, gear box technology and lubricants as achievable ways to reduce emissions. To support this, there is a reliance on us as individuals to play our part. For example, picking out some of the areas that Professor King highlights, we can all take weight out of our vehicles, we can all make sure that our tyres are properly inflated and we can all adapt our driving styles to make us more efficient.
So if we can do this and the manufacturers support us we will be making great strides towards her 80% reduction figure, the balance of which will be made through the use of hybrid vehicles in the interim and then a move across to an electric and/or hydrogen future.
Professor King is realistic; citing things that must happen to make her targets a reality, explaining that left to its own devices the market will not deliver. She calls for international agreements, standards and regulations to police the move. She also says that incentives will be required, through subsidies and taxes.
So there is a long road ahead if we are to meet the targets set out in the King Review, which the current Government says it is serious about doing, but nevertheless, what I find really encouraging is the opportunity to make such a significant difference with the technology that we have right now, although to do this, we all have a part to play.