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UK Liberal Democrats Outline Plan for Carbon Neutral Britain; Includes Mandatory Zero Carbon Cars by 2040

The UK’s Liberal Democrats party has outlined a plan for making Britain carbon neutral by 2050. The measures will be debated at the party’s conference in Brighton next month.

The party’s proposed mitigation policy outlined in the paper ‘Zero Carbon Britain - Taking a Global Lead’ has three key elements: pricing carbon through trading, tax or regulation; encouraging development, demonstration and deployment to bring forward a range of low carbon technologies; and encouraging long-term behavioral changes.

Road Transportation. The plan outlines a number of actions to promote low-carbon transport technologies, including:

  • An increase in the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) to at least 10% of all fuel sold on UK forecourts by 2015. The current RTFO sets a target for 2010 of 5% of all road fuels from suppliers to be provided by biofuels from 2008.

    Increasing the RTFO would require safeguards to ensure that fuels do not come from crops which have displaced rainforest and other valuable natural habitats and carbon sinks. Full certification would be needed.

    For the longer-term, the party looks to second-generation biofuels, which would need to be supported by “the most appropriate future market mechanisms.”

  • Press for the introduction of mandatory requirements to limit average CO2 emissions from all new cars placed on the EU single market to 120 gCO2/km by 2015 and 95 gCO2/km by 2020 through technical improvements alone.

    The current direction in the EU is toward an overall mandatory target of 130 gCO2/km by 2012 with an additional 10 gCO2/km to be delivered through a range of other measures, including biofuels.

    The party is also supporting a target of zero carbon for all new cars by 2040 and an effective system of penalties and incentives to ensure compliance.

    The party also suggests seeking further reductions by placing pre-approval restrictions on the power of vehicles, to curb the tendency towards building fuel-inefficient vehicles and promoting mandatory fuel economy labelling in all car advertising.

  • Extend emissions targets to all other vehicles, to ensure that by 2050 all freight vehicles are running on electricity, biofuels or other renewable fuels. The party would focus initially on policies to extend the use of zero-carbon electric urban delivery vehicles, such as those which have been trialed in central London.

  • Promote a shift from road and air to rail. The party would introduce a presumption against the building of new roads where there is no overall environmental and social benefit and shift the balance of spending from roads to rail and other public transport within the existing budgets for transport.

    A new Future Transport Fund would support additional investment in key rail and light rail improvements and extensions and, in the short run, reduce the cost of fares. To provide the endowment for the Future Transport Fund, the party proposes charging road freight on a pay per mile basis, varying according to emissions, similar to schemes that currently operate in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the Czech Republic.

    Distance charges on road freight would provide an incentive for freight to shift to rail and short sea and canal trips. The party also would use a climate change charge on air flights within the UK.

  • Other proposals include a commitment to 100% carbon free, non-nuclear electricity by 2050; the introduction of ‘green mortgages’ to enable people to make their homes more energy efficient; and the implementation of “green taxes” to make the polluter pay, using the revenue to cut income tax.




I certainly expect that "zero carbon" will also include the method used in generating the electricity any EV uses, any electricity used in the production of the vehicle or it's batteries, or any electricity used in the production of the PV solar cells used to recharge said batteries.

Otherwise what's the point? It would just be more liberal-socialist hypocrisy.

Bob Bastard

"Other proposals include a commitment to 100% carbon free, non-nuclear electricity by 2050;"


liberal-socialist hypocrisy

Red baiting is so 70s. Say "pinko" for us.

Mark M

I commend the effort and the vision. You will never acheive any goals if you don't set them. In the process you will acheive some of them. There seems to be a view from the 'mainstream' that if you can't do it all why bother? If we all tried there would be accumulative improvement.


why the obsession to have non-nuclear electricity ?


why the obsession to have non-nuclear electricity ?

Because they actually care about the environment and human well-being and aren't simply techno-fetishists?

Nick Flynn

"why the obsession to have non-nuclear electricity ?"

I don't know but I guess they think it will be a vote winner. Nuclear power's not particularly popular here. That said, there's not much call to phase it out either and given its role in our nuclear weapons programs I can't see any government scrapping it, at least without some kind of multilateral global agreement.


The news here in Australia has been about APEC and how the US and ourselves will be championing "aspirational" goals and reductions in CO2 intensity.

It's great to see a mainstream party in the UK that has the guts to set some ambitious targets that might head off runaway climate change. No such luck here where both major parties have been well and truly domesticated by the fossil fuel and mining industries.


Because they actually care about the environment and human well-being and aren't simply techno-fetishists?

Or have they fallen for panicky hyper-emotional green propaganda? Hard to say...


Or have they fallen for panicky hyper-emotional green propaganda? Hard to say...

Yes, climate change is all one giant ball of propaganda. Thank goodness clear-eyed denialists are here to set us straight.


According to UK News:

“The online study which polled nearly 4000 votes (in UK) found that a staggering 71 percent of people think that the rise in air temperature happens naturally.

And 65 percent think that scientists' catastrophic predictions if pollution isn't curbed are 'far fetched'.”

How about better flood protection?

This summer floods in UK are only beginning. Same floods occurred regularly about 60 years ago, when Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO, look at Wikipedia) switched to “cool” phase, as it is happening now.


What point are you making Andrey? Your post just seems like a collection of random opinions and quotes.


The online study

Meaning it's a place where people can go cast votes on a website. That's not a scientific poll by any stretch of the imagination.

I love the irony of someone contesting consensus science who doesn't even understand what a legitimate, scientific poll is.

I'd also like to add that actual polls indicate that 79% of Americans believe angels exist. Also, a third believe in ghosts and 1/4 believe in witches.

Lesson: most people are flaming idiots, especially ones who can't tell a clickable web vote from a scientific poll.

GMC Pickup Bed Cap

Its too expensive.


Well, it would seem that the new religion of global warming and the true believers are quite willing to mandate whatever changes they feel necessary to save polar bears.

Luddites have always been with us. They mean well, but they are so foolish.

Now they call us "denialists".

This too shall pass. Let us hope that they don't burn anyone at the stake for heresy.



It is on-line poll, not on-line vote. As for scientific consensus, it never existed:

“…A Gallup poll at the time (1992) reported that 53% of scientists actively involved in global climate research did not believe global warming had occurred; 30% weren't sure; and only 17% believed global warming had begun. Even a Greenpeace poll showed 47% of climatologists didn't think a runaway greenhouse effect was imminent; only 36% thought it possible and a mere 13% thought it probable.”

The last update:

“…Dr. Klaus-Martin Schulte recently updated this research. Using the same database and search terms as Oreskes, he examined all papers published from 2004 to February 2007. The results have been submitted to the journal Energy and Environment, of which DailyTech has obtained a pre-publication copy. The figures are surprising.

Of 528 total papers on climate change, only 38 (7%) gave an explicit endorsement of the consensus. If one considers "implicit" endorsement (accepting the consensus without explicit statement), the figure rises to 45%. However, while only 32 papers (6%) reject the consensus outright, the largest category (48%) are neutral papers, refusing to either accept or reject the hypothesis. This is no "consensus."

And the history of “scientific consensus” hoax:


My point is that radical program of UK Liberal Democrats could be not very appealing for ¾ of UK voters. Seems like old common sense of Britons is not completely eradicated.


It is on-line poll, not on-line vote.

You really don't know what a poll is, do you? Yet here you are acting like we should listen to your views on science? LOL.

As for scientific consensus, it never existed

Right, and pigs fly.

Alex Kovnat

I think the people of the UK, and for that matter the people of the world, deserve better than to be told the world is coming to an end from global warming and then told we can't use nuclear energy either.

To give everyone here an idea of how irrational politics in Great Britain can be, you have people who issue statements likening Israel to the Soviet Union under Stalin. Its sad.


Here's something to look at concerning global warming/emissions.

Go to:
Click on: Carbon and Catchments


Stan Peterson

These kinds of political propaganda and political promises are not really harmful as long as they don't impose the taxes, er, excuse me, "RTFO fees",anytime soon. Within five years the CO2 carbon hysteria will be looked on as quaint, and irrelevant, as the Y2K hysteria.

Every day the Science as reported in the peer-reviewed scientific literature, becomes more plain. The scientific fears of the 70's and '80s have proved premature and resultant speculations wrong.

The power of the GHGs are really 10-15% of what was feared; there is no positive feedback loop with H20, and the damping feedback, as most things in the Universe is negative.

For example, if your auto bounces when it goes over a object in the road. The oscillations don't get bigger an bigger, (positive or undamped), rather the oscillation dies out over time (negative damped feedback). bouncing rubber balls,a nd bounced rocks do the same; as does most things in nature. The Second Law of Thermodynamics virtually mandates it to be so.

There is no "runaway" Global Warming. The last "hopes" for that are dying, in the highly negative feedback now observed in the recent data from Space satellites.

This was the last hope for the global warmists.

They postulated and needed a highly positive feedback to form the basis for the desperate need to appeal to "tipping points" into positive feedback loops, to produce significant climate change.

The Science is now in; the positive feedback, (undamped), is non-existent; rather it is observed and measured to be highly negative,(damped).

The Doomday nouveau-religionists of Gaia worship, like old time fundamentalists preaching the arrival of "fire and brimstone" just is not revealed to be true by modern Science. The Science of the last five years, just now being peer-review published, says so, even if the word hasn't gotten to the politicians as yet.

The promises for 2040 can then be quietly forgotten.

But I'll bet these clods really intend to pass the carbon tax, er, "RTFO fees", immediately. And then will conveniently forget to repeal it, when the hysteria abates...


It's amazing that the Schulte paper can still be held up as evidence of "lack of consensus." Just look at the results as presented above: Acceptance outpaces denial by a factor of 7.5 to 1. What's more, I believe that it's widely known that the Schulte paper really played fast and loose with the papers it chose to look at. I seem to recall that if a paper didn't have an explicit position on global warming--because the paper was about a different subject!--it was categorized as not rejecting the denialist viewpoint.


Ocean based wind and tidal electrical power farms hooked up to a national energy grid powering EVs and we're on the way. Now hit the turbo and do it by 2020.


From BBC news:
“ The Ipsos Mori poll of 2,032 adults (UK) - interviewed between 14 and 20 June - found 56% believed scientists were still questioning climate change.
There was a feeling the problem was exaggerated to make money, it found.
The survey suggested that terrorism, graffiti, crime and dog poop were all of more concern than climate change for Britons.”
Seems to me that your wishfull assumption that most people are “flaming idiots” is highly exasperated, at least for Britons.
Climate is too complicated thing, and climate science is yet in it infancy to make somehow meaningful statements and predictions, especially by popular vote among politically motivated establishment. Consensus is artifact of politics, not science, it does not exist in any branch of the science, and for real science it is useless and highly undesirable.
AGW theory (in fact hypothesis) consists of multiple claims, and there were no consensus not on single one of them, ever. Notion of “scientific consensus” championed by AGW proponents is a lie, targeted to impress people who do not understand how science works, and do not familiar with actual findings of climate science. Schulte paper claims just that – there is no consensus. How many scientists are “for” and how many are “against”, whatever it means, is of interest only for future science history researches.


The best part of the plan I see is that funds will be diverted from roads to rail. The old adage, "If you build it they will come", is very true of roads. If a road is built or expanded, it promotes driving a car. If the rail / public transit is upgraded to be more convenient, people will use that.

We need this type of forward thinking here in the US as the suburban sprawl just keeps increasing and the road are growing at an unsupportable rate.

Roger Pham

To all denialists of GW,

Skepticism is a good thing, especially on something as abstract as run-away GW.

However, please realize that our current way of living is not sustainable. We are depleting NON-RENEWABLE resources at an alarming and unprecedented rate, creating unprecedented level of pollution including carcinogens, mercury, GHG, etc. that will truly compromise our future generations and the planet Earth.

We will need to start to conserve, at least to halt and then reverse the growth of consumption of fossil fuels and the level of waste production, and start to develop renewable energy resources that are non-polluting and will give us energy security, and start recycling...

Is there anyone in this forum knows for sure that global warming WILL NOT escalate? NO. You may have doubts, but you don't know for sure. So, why gamble on the future of our children? The safest bet is to reduce and eventually phase out the use of fossil fuels and invest more and more on renewable energy. Start recycling...Investment in renewable energy and energy conservation technologies will create economic growth, jobs...and failure to invest in renewable energy and energy conservation will lead to economic collapse due to depletion of fossil fuels.

If you ever culture bacteria in a test tube broth medium, you will see that with exponential bacteral growth, nutrients will be depleted and waste built up, and the entire bacteria population will die. Adding algae and light (renewable energy) into the test tube to recycle the waste produced by the bacteria, and a more sustainable situation will occur. Extrapolate this simple microbiology experiment on a global scale, and the answer will be obvious.

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