Environment & Energy

California dreaming: A plan to phase out petrol and diesel cars that might actually work

Related Content Transport is now the UK’s biggest source of climate-warming greenhouse gases. While other sectors slash their carbon footprint, our cars alone continue to produce 15 per cent of annual emissions — and the figure is still rising. To tackle this, earlier...
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Route ‘35

Transport is now the UK’s biggest source of climate-warming greenhouse gases. While other sectors slash their emissions, cars continue to produce 15% of our annual emissions, and the figure is still rising.

To solve this, the Government plans to ban new petrol and diesel cars by 2035. Here Policy Exchange sets out how this can be achieved, following best international practice.

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Scrapping the scrappage scheme

It is welcome news that UK Government has dismissed reports that it was considering a scrappage scheme for petrol and diesel cars as a short-term economic stimulus measure. In a typical scrappage scheme, the government would pay car owners to scrap their current vehicle in return for credit against a new one, thereby stimulating the manufacturing sector. However, scrappage schemes are generally not a desirable policy, because they tend to be an inefficient use of public funds, work against the grain of transport decarbonisation, and send mixed price signals alongside Electric Vehicle subsidies.

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Electricity markets under pressure

The Coronavirus has challenged all sectors of the UK economy, and electricity markets have been no exception. Electricity demand is down by as much as 20%, causing periods of negative electricity prices and unprecedented strain on the Electricity System Operator (ESO), run by National Grid. The ESO is responsible for ensuring that the system can respond to lightning strikes and faults at power stations, and that power lines don’t become overloaded. To do this, the ESO takes “balancing actions”, paying to turn down some generators and paying to turn up others.

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Outbreaks and Spillovers

Zoonotic pathogens (those that originate in animals) are a growing risk to human populations. There were three times as many outbreaks in the 1990s as in the 1940s, and cases continue to rise. The majority of new infectious diseases originate in animals, including well-known diseases such as SARS, avian flu, Ebola and HIV. Whilst too early to say for sure, it is likely that SARS-CoV2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) originated in bats. Here Policy Exchange examines what is to be done to reduce the threat to human health and the global economy.

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Time to plant – and harvest – more trees

All political parties agree that the UK needs more trees, but stimulating markets to support forestry and supporting sustainable wood use also needs to be part of land policy after Brexit, argues a new paper from Policy Exchange’s award-winning Energy and Environment...
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Dear Energy Secretary, I’m afraid to tell you there is no money….

Dear Energy Secretary, I’m afraid to tell you there is no money….

Richard Howard, Head of Policy Exchange’s Environment and Energy unit, argues that the Department for Energy and Climate Change has underestimated the cost of energy policies with drastic consequences for future budgets. With reference to data from an upcoming Policy Exchange report, Richard shows that DECC needs to adapt rapidly to avoid being unable to fund future projects.

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