Thank you very much for writing to me, and I hope you are well.
I understand your concerns about the government’s proposed ban on the sale of new petrol motorcycles.
The Committee on Climate Change has stated that the UK is “way off track” on meeting its own carbon emissions targets in the 2020s and 2030s. In addition, the Government is even further off track on their Paris climate change agreement commitments, to which we must adhere to if we are to have a chance of avoiding the catastrophic impacts of climate change. Transport is the worst performing sector of the economy, as it accounts for a third of all carbon dioxide emissions and is the UK’s largest source of greenhouse gas. THE EVIDENCE IS CLEAR THAT TRANSPORT IS OUR COUNTRY’S LARGEST EMITTING SECTOR, RESPONSIBLE FOR 24% OF THE UK’S TOTAL EMISSIONS IN 2020. While it is true that motorcycles are less polluting than other combustion engine vehicles, there were over 1.4 million motorcycles licensed in 2020 and the Department for Transport has stated that it “does not want to see them remaining fossil fuelled as the rest of the vehicle fleet cleans up.”
It points out that zero emission powered light vehicles are a clean and efficient way of getting around and can reduce congestion, air, and noise pollution from transport.
More than 99.9% of peer-reviewed scientific papers agree that climate change is mainly caused by humans, according to a 2021 survey of 88,125 climate-related studies. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
(IPCC) has found that emissions from fossil fuels are the dominant cause of global warming. This is fact and needs to be taken seriously.
I agree with the 2030 and 2035 targets, and believe the Government could do more to reduce emissions. In my view, decarbonising our transport sector is one of the most pressing challenges that we face as a nation, and we need more ambition and more action from this Government if we are to meet net zero. Nevertheless, I respect that you have a different view and I hope that the Government reflects on the concerns that you raise.
It is important that, at the same time as accelerating the phase out of combustion engines, Ministers also set out a credible plan as to how this will be done. Such a plan should, in my view, prioritise the creation of low-carbon jobs and industries and it must ensure that communities are properly supported as we make the transition to a greener economy.
I believe we must decarbonise road transport by transitioning to electric vehicles and decarbonising the production of electricity on which these vehicles rely. Reducing vehicle miles travelled on roads and switching to electric would also address poor air quality, which is the largest environmental risk to public health in the UK.
The Government should understand that its failure to invest now will have damaging long-term economic, social and environmental costs. I firmly believe that the climate crisis and air pollution crisis requires bold and immediate action, which is not forthcoming from the Government.
I appreciate you disagree with my response, but I hope you can understand my views.
Member of Parliament for Hornsey & Wood Green
Shadow Minister for Asia & the Pacific
6th February 2023