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Green transport agenda is built on wishful thinking

Paul Biggs Environment spokesman Alliance of British Drivers Tamworth, Staffs B77
15 May 2020

Liverpool’s claims for the success of 20mph limits (‘Liverpool hails results from 20mph limits’ LTT 01 May) are a further demonstration of why councils should not be allowed to mark their own exam papers and objective analysis by the likes of DfT 20mph report co-author Professor Mike Maher is essential.

Your report highlights some of the questionable aspects of the claimed results and, as usual, theoretical, inflated ‘values’ are confused with actual ‘costs’ (which can often be covered by insurance claims) in order to justify the £1.65m cost of changing speed limit signs from 30 to 20. 

Moving on, it was good to read John Helm’s excellent letter about the affront to democracy known as climate assemblies, which leads me on to the judicial review of the DfT’s road investment strategy (RIS2) (‘Judicial review sought of roads programme’). It’s clear that neither the Government nor solicitors have any understanding of the insignificance of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. Bjorn Lomborg showed in his November 2015 peer-reviewed paper that even if all the governments of the world keep the promises they made under the agreement (they won’t), then global temperatures would be reduced by just 0.05C by 2100 at a cost of $trillions: https://tinyurl.com/jea4oso

Exactly four years after Lomborg’s paper, former UN IPCC chair Sir Robert Watson co-authored a paper entitled ‘The Truth Behind the Paris Agreement Climate Pledges’ in November 2019: https://tinyurl.com/y7sxp7ja

This shows that 75 per cent of the 184 pledges were judged as insufficient to slow climate change. Lomborg’s latest (2020) peer-reviewed paper reinforces the fact that the Paris Agreement can only deliver one per cent of the reduction in global emissions claimed to be needed to limit global temperature rise to 1.5C at the staggering cost of $819bn to $1,890 bn per year in 2030: https://tinyurl.com/y9vm6tcj

Of course, the UK’s less than one per cent contribution to global man-made carbon dioxide emissions plays a tiny, insignificant role in any climate agreement, but potentially imposes huge economic costs and restrictions on the UK. 

The idea that climate agreements should stand up in court as an obstacle to essential infrastructure in the UK is as absurd as the agreements themselves. 

Furthermore, the Paris Agreement is not legally binding on substance, it is only binding on reporting and there are no enforcement mechanisms via the United Nations. The UK’s net zero by 2050 target is legally binding, but the wriggle room comes under ‘net zero’ rather than ‘zero’ CO2 emissions. 

Legally binding targets are foolish as there is never a costed, structured plan made in advance for how they might be achieved. 

I’m available as a witness for the DfT if required as they don’t seem to have much of a clue about climate agreements that the Government signed up to, or even the will to defend themselves against the climate doomsday cult that the Government itself has empowered.

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