MPs Urge People To Stop Using Their Cars To Meet UK Climate Change Targets

22 August 2019, 11:52

MPs has said serious changes need to be made if the UK wants to meet its 2050 net-zero carbon emissions targets
MPs has said serious changes need to be made if the UK wants to meet its 2050 net-zero carbon emissions targets. Picture: PA

The Science and Technology Select Committee has said recent Conservative governments have "promised more, but done less" to combat the climate crisis.

MPs have suggested that the government should discourage people from using cars and encourage the building of energy efficient homes if they want to meet their 2050 target of net-zero carbon emissions.

The cross-party Science and Technology Select Committee have said that people need to make changes to their lifestyle, as technology alone cannot solve the environmental problems caused by transport.

The committee concluded that the government cannot reach their legally binding 2050 target just by swapping existing vehicles for cleaner versions, such as electric.

The report stated, “in the long-term, widespread personal vehicle ownership does not appear to be compatible with significant decarbonisation.”

The MPs have called for improvements in public transport and higher rates of walking and cycling to benefit the climate.

The report also criticised the government's recent rise in the cost of public transport.

They said that financial incentives to buy cleaner car models need to be stronger, as people are still choosing more polluting models.

This should be coupled with a government policy to aim to reduce the number of vehicles being used on UK roads by making public transport an affordable alternative to driving and encouraging the use of car sharing, car hire and taxis.

Ministers have not increased fuel duty in recent years following lobbying from motoring groups. But MPs say to reduce carbon emissions the annual increase in fuel duty should never be lower than the average increase in rail or bus fares.

The committee also pushed for more charging points for electric vehicles, more emphasis on renewable energy and greener vehicle production and investing more into research around hydrogen technology vehicles.

A government spokesman said: "From transport to heating, electricity to agriculture, we are working to put in place the right measures to help us tackle global warming. We welcome the committee's report and will consider its findings."

"We are going further and faster to tackle climate change than any other major economy having legislated for net zero emissions by 2050."