Turning up the screws
A UK committee of academics and one of MP’s say cars are not compatible with life as we know it:
Roger Harrabin, BBC
The Science and Technology Select Committee says technology alone cannot solve the problem of greenhouse gas emissions from transport.
In its report, the committee said: “In the long-term, widespread personal vehicle ownership does not appear to be compatible with significant decarbonisation.”
It echoes a report from an Oxford-based group of academics who warned that even electric cars produce pollution through their tyres and brakes.
Naturally, after suggesting a preposterously large, transformative impossibility — the report then just says the government should spend more on more of the same: buses, trains, bikes and ride shares. See the segue? What starts as a huge mission to change the world morphs into an excuse to boost pet projects. The ridiculous gambit claims pave the way to make another round of “more, more, more” look reasonable.
Let’s join the dots that they won’t. How many storms exactly will 1,000 extra buses prevent?
Next, how not to do journalism by Roger Harrabin:
The MP’s go on to say that the big problem is that the punters keep buying big polluting cars because “financial incentives to buy cleaner cars are insufficient.” Which is another way of saying people want big cars and if we don’t punish them enough with punitive taxes they won’t settle for something less. Being a paid PR agent for the government, Harrabin knows which way of phrasing things sounds better for the rulers and he chooses that.
This next line says so much — mostly by what it doesn’t say:
Ministers have held down fuel duty increases in recent years following lobbying from motoring groups.
Obviously, if it weren’t for motoring groups the whole nation would be asking for a higher fuel tax. To a BBC journalist, “the people” might as well not exist.
But the MPs say they should ensure that the annual increase in fuel duty is never lower than the average increase in rail or bus fares.
Give Harrabin a point for mentioning there was a conflict of interest:
The MPs backed many of the recommendations of the government’s official advisory body, the Committee on Climate Change.
But they complained that its chair, Lord Deben, should have declared the interest of his consultancy firm in Drax power station, the largest recipient of renewable energy subsidies in the country, and Johnson Matthey, which is about to make a huge investment in electric vehicles.
Give Harrabin no points for describing this comically absurd conflict of interest as merely “a complaint”. Here’s the Logo of Debens committee:
See especially, Strategic policy 3: “Conduct independent analysis into climate change science, economics and policy.”
Thus it’s essentially an industry lobby group. Other industries have to set up their own and don’t get to call themselves “independent”. The big mystery to me is that Lord Deben’s conflicts have been known for years (thanks to David Rose and Christopher Booker), yet Deben’s still in charge?
Could anyone imagine the CCC employing one skeptical scientist?