Transport policy and carbon dioxide


                       The government wants to make its transport policy a big contributor to lowering the UK’s output of carbon dioxide. Many people just want a transport system that works for them.

                        The idea that switching people to trains from cars will do the job needs careful examination. Clearly, shifting more people onto commuter trains at peak hours when the roads are congested should be good on both counts. Congestion is one of the main causes of extra carbon dioxide, and one of the main causes of frustration and delays. Fully loaded trains produce less carbon dioxide per traveller and per mile and can do a good job in reducing delays and stress.

                             Similarly, switching more freight from trucks to trains over longer distances can cut the carbon dioxide and should, if the railways were properly organised, cut costs and help distribution. The fact that this is often not the case requires improvement in rail freight facilities and mroe flexibility in freight marshalling to cater for businesses that do not have a train load of goods themselves on a daily basis.

                             There are not the same carbon gains or convenience gains to be had outside peak hours and off main routes. The ever growing improvements in car engine efficiency and fuel consumption mean that looking out over the next twenty years or so we should assume that for many journeys the car will produce less carbon dioxide per passenger mile travelled than the total carbon dioxide for the same journey by mixed mode, usually involving cars into and out from city centre stations along with a mainline train journey on a lightly loaded train.

                            The Mayor of London is launching his new travel plans. The upgrade of tube train facilities and the increase in capacity will be welcome. At peaks hours the tube is under great strain from high passenger numbers, and more could be done to improve comfort on trains. He also needs to drive forward his programme to bust congestion on the roads. There are all too many examples of poorly managed and poorly chosen road works.  Traffic light phasing is still far from optimal in many central London locations.

                           Probably the most successful transport investment in recent years has been the adaption of the M42 Birmingham ring way for hard shoulder running. This has improved the capacity of the road, cut congestion and delay, reduced carbon dioxide emissions as a result, and has cut accidents substantially. We need more such investments to get the Uk moving better. In many places we have the tarmac but it is not well designed to cut accidents and maximise throughput of vehicles.  We spend large sums  on trying to get trains to travel faster – and produce more carbon dioxide in the process at the power station – whilst creating endless delays for motor vehicles, also producing more carbon dioxide as they perform well below their optimum levels of efficiency.

               Cutting carbon dioxide output and improving the lot of the traveller need not be in conflict. Smoother and faster running on the roads will help, as much as diverting goods and people onto trains on major routes and at busy times.


  1. lifelogic
    March 30, 2011

    Fully loaded trains may reduces CO2 very slightly but the are rarely possible in the real world. A train must have space at each stop in order to pick people up and usually returns nearly empty when returning against the people flow. Also when stations and track cost and staff are taken into account it rarely wave any in practice.

    Planes are actually often better over longer distances needing to track and flying in thinner air.

    Attack the problem with new roads, new flyovers, better signs, better road working, more video conferencing, more working from home, more efficient cars and vans, fewer so call “environmental areas” namely road blocks than force you to drive further.

    More variable time working and holidays too.

    Bikes do not actually help as the fuel extra food is very carbon intensive in production meat especially.

    So stop the political nonsense of Car, Lorry, Plane bad – Train bike Walking good it is scientific nonsense despite what our schools, political parties and the BBC have indoctrinated you with for years.

    1. lifelogic
      March 30, 2011

      I see Boris is planning more “vote for me bikes” but the existing ones are rarely used and just block the pavements. And have to be trucked around as they end up in the wrong places.

      Also remember it is over 10 times more dangerous than a car and from farm to plate to mile it actually saves no CO2.

      1. waramess
        March 30, 2011

        Do you think Boris might be persuaded to put the family money into the scheme rather than taxpayers money? After all, if it is such a good idea he wishes to expand it, then perhaps we should allow the Johnson family fortune to benefit

        1. lifelogic
          March 30, 2011

          Unlikely it is amazing how keen even relatively sensible people like Boris are to waste money when it belongs to others and gives him a free advert.

          I wonder when the green investment bank (or tip £3B down the green drain bank) will every make a profit.

    2. Bazman
      March 30, 2011

      False accuracy at best. Maybe aircraft fares should take into account the weight of the passenger in that case? Where do you gets these ‘facts’?
      Most people eat to much anyway. How on earth do you think they eat a significant amount more when riding a bike to make a significant increase in CO2 emissions? If anything it would make the population more healthy with all the benefits that entails.

      1. lifelogic
        March 30, 2011

        Simple physics tells us that the energy comes from the food they eat and they have to eat more if they bike to work. So grow some grain/grass from sun perhaps 0.4% efficient feed to cow perhaps 20% efficient, butcher, cut, freeze, distribute, package, price sell collect from super market cook and eat, much thrown away too.

        Perhaps about 1/1000 of the energy used from the sun gets to the bikers legs and wheels.

        More healthy – well perhaps but sportsmen tend to have rather lower life expectancy than normal and bikes are at least 10 times more dangerous than cars. Good for C02 through population control well perhaps.

        If this is such a good fuel method perhaps we should try a steak chips and beer car. Clearly it would be better than diesel by your logic.

        1. lifelogic
          March 30, 2011

          And there is the resultant powerful cow methane farts and belches
          caused to take into account.

  2. John Ward
    March 30, 2011

    While I am not a climate change denier, I do think the fuss about traffic-generated CO2 simply doesn’t add up. Human beings and their animals produce over twenty times as many gases harmful to the atmosphere…..and our total CO2 output adds up to just a few energy plants in China.

    I accept we must start somewhere, but carbon footprint is a myth.

    1. oldtimer
      March 30, 2011

      I doubt there there are many “climate change deniers”, as you put it. It is obvious that the climate changes over time, sometimes in observable patterns. The question is whether a certain level of man made CO2 will trigger runaway global warming. That hypothesis is a prediction based on computer models which simplify the complex and chaotic system which is the earths climate. Along the way there has been a good deal of misinformation spread about, some of it in IPCC reports. This has caused many people to interrogate the metrology behind these reports and have found it wanting. That is the reason for doubts about the hypothesis coupled with the fact that the observable results available since the predictions started to be made do not support or match the predictions.

  3. Alte Fritz
    March 30, 2011

    Relying on the evidence of my eyes, there is a vast demand for better rail travel. It is not just London Transport that packs people like sardines, and not merely at peak hours. Vanity projects such as HS2 have, I suggest, nothing to do with the rail system. They are vast construction projects and will be supported by the beneficiaries of the same.

    Franchisees have little long term incentive to invest, and every incentive to seek subsidy. We need to look at a better economic model for the industry.

    As for the road lobby, since every expanion leads to more congestion, perhaps we should start closing roads down to discourage travel? Or make motorists stagger their journeys over night time? My suggestions can be no worse than proposing an expansion of new roading builing without limit.

    1. lifelogic
      March 30, 2011

      There is usually a big demand for things that are sold for less than they cost. Try selling gold at half price. Supply and demand without subsidy tax/bias will tell you the true demand.

      1. Alte Fritz
        March 30, 2011

        Fine, so long as the cost of construction and maintenance of roads is treated the same. In other words, levy a direct charge for all vehicles to use all roads. Cars can be fitted with meters and motorists can pay accordingly. Just like anything else.

        1. lifelogic
          March 31, 2011

          They do pay more far more than true cost already in VAT/ VED/fuel duty most of these are not paid by trains and buses.

        2. Alan Wheatley
          March 31, 2011

          There is already a per-usage charge, its called Fuel Duty.

  4. Graham
    March 30, 2011

    You are also assuming that the orginal premise of reducing CO2 has any real purpose other than to raise tax and control people.

    Reply: I am just describing the world we live in, not endorsing it all.

    1. APL
      March 30, 2011

      JR: “I am just describing the world we live in, not endorsing it all.”

      It’s not just the world we live in though is it? Taxes and the accompanying hysteria about ‘Carbon’ or Carbon Dioxide, has been generated hand in glove by the politicians, NGOs (brought into play and subsidized by the politicians – at tax payers expense), it’s the world Politicians have built.

      Reply: Indeed – politicians sometimes make the weather!

      1. APL
        March 31, 2011

        Typical Politicians diversionary reply.

        Politicians may not determine the weather, but they do determine the tax regieme and the economic climate – is a result of your collective (in)actions.

        ‘Carbon’ tax is nothing less than a fraud intended to extract more money from industry and the population. It should be described in such terms.

  5. A.Sedgwick
    March 30, 2011

    Railcard users should receive better value for off peak travel to encourage journey switches from cars.

    Road tax should go and fuel duty substantially increased, yes above road tax take, with lorries/delivery vehicles receiving rebates. Many more motorists and car manufacturers need to realise a car needs overwhelmingly to become merely an efficient A to B machine for daily use. It is happening with more driver friendly smaller engined cars but if you want to drive in a 25 mpg £50,000 car everyday it will cost you.

    Replace tax discs with insurance discs and license wheel clamping companies to trawl the streets for non displayers, having stripped them, of course, of their current activities. I have read estimates of up to 2 million cars that should not be on the road.

    A massive bone of contention for motorists is speed limit inconsistency and its enforcement. Many of us drive suburban roads watching our speedometers to avoid being caught doing 34 mph by the laughingly called safety partnership vans and fixed cameras yet go on a motorway and it is like a race track or jammed. Road calming schemes for the suburbs and average speed cameras for all motorways would be safer and reduce fuel consumption. If anyone wants to drive their car fast go on the increasingly popular race track days.

    1. Stuart Fairney
      March 30, 2011

      Why should the state decide, quite remotely, what speed I should drive at in all circumstances? If I may…

      At 10am on January 1st, 2008, I was proceeding in a Westerly direction on the M4. The ‘traffic’ consisted of me and someone from the Avon & Somerset comstabulary I did not see until it was too late. I was doing about 95mph when the rather pretty lady constable caught me. Sadly my manifest charm did not save me from a ticket, 3 points, a £400 fine and increased insurance costs. But the question is, can anyone tell me who was the victim of my ‘crime’ ? (save for WPC pretty who had to endure the most awful cliches from me!)

      1. alan jutson
        March 31, 2011


        Speed limits were first set many years ago (as I understood it as a guide for the maximum speed suggested for that particular road, in poor conditions (rain, night etc)

        They have evolved over the years, and are now deemed as being the maximum even in good conditions (road empty, dry, sunny) as one mans poor conditions, were different to anothers interpretation, thus there was no fixed datum.

        Given we now have police targets/statistics to meet, income from fines to collect, police SAETY CAMERAS were introduced to great effect.

        I have no problem with traffic police stopping drivers for speeding as the decision to prosecute is discretionary after an interview, although I suppose it depends upon the number of nicks total for the day/week/month. If you failed to spot a policeman in a marked police car, you really were not paying full attention to your surroundings.

        You committed an offence, were spoken to at the time of the offence, were able to put your side of the story, a judgement was given, and was delt with.

        The idea of police being visable serves as, and is a deterent, which is the whole object of visable policing.

        What is not a deterent, is getting a letter in the post some weeks later saying you passed a mobile speed camera which either you did not see, or were confused by the ever changing limits on different sections of the same road.

        A family friend of ours was banned for 6 months ( a couple of years ago) under the totting up rules, because he passed such a camera 4 times in one week, driving on a dual carriagway on his way to work (in Reading) at speeds of 36, 35, 38, 38, MPH, fully believing that the limit on that part of the road in question was 40 mph.

        Had he been stopped on the first offence, and his error pointed out, then the later offences would not have happened. The first time he was even aware of any offence, was when he recieved the first notification by post some two weeks after the first offence had been committed, by which time he had committed three other similar honest errors, appeared in court, and was banned.

        He needed his car for business purposes, but fortunately for him, his employer was very understanding, and made him office based for the 6 months duration of his ban.

        Traffic police no problem when being stopped at the time of the offence, any other type of belated fine after notification by post is just revenue collection, pure and simple, and has nothing to do with policing.

    2. lifelogic
      April 3, 2011

      As we have already shown that, in general, rail has no green, cost or congestion advantages over cars why should “we encourage journey switches from cars” as you suggest.

  6. Paul
    March 30, 2011

    John, could you explain exactly why you keep refering to CO2. What is the problem with this gas? Could it be that you, yourself, have now fallen for the climate change con and see the UK’s contribution to world CO2 levels (roughly 2%) as something that we should obsess over?

    Reply:I am explaining the government’s view, not mine.I am then trying to explain to them how a sensible transport policy would meet their gas objective.

  7. waramess
    March 30, 2011

    If the ever growing desire by politicians for low carbon solutions is not entirely consistent with what the free market wants then there is something very wrong.

    Politicians may spend endless amounts of money improving the railways but if the market is not interested then a vast amount of taxpayers wealth will have been squandered on a politicians dream.

    Should the government see fit to force the solution on the private sector it will have profound and unforseen adverse consequences and should instead the private sector decide it was a good idea then the move to rail would have been seen well in advance of the politicians decision to make the investment.

    If the roads are congested then increase the capacity of the roads not copy the halfwit Prescott and try to force road users on to the railways.

    The free market does not mess with silly ideas because it is accountable for the investments it makes and politicians would do well to learn from this given the increasing scarcity of resources we, and they will be faced with in the future

  8. Geoff not Hoon
    March 30, 2011

    Mr. Redwood, Some years ago at another time of oil crisis ‘someone’ produced a report showing the result of a 20% shift from car driving (which is nearly always one bod per car) to using the train. The figures showed that the railway in terms of number of carriages needed etc. just simply could not cope at the two peak times each day. In some cases trains would need to be twice as long and in the majority of stations the whole thing would not work as, like the bus problem, the carriages were then at the wrong place each time they were needed.
    Does anyone recall reading it or even have the figures?

    1. lifelogic
      March 30, 2011

      No but it is all blindingly obvious to anyone who think it through for an hour or two.

      1. Stuart Fairney
        March 30, 2011

        And to those of us who have ever caught the 7.15am from Basingstoke to Waterloo and paid over £100 a week to stand in a jerky corridor when the air con was broken.

      2. lifelogic
        March 30, 2011

        A train after all is just a big coach that has the disadvantage that it is restricted to a very few railed routes.

  9. NickW
    March 30, 2011

    There is a very simple solution to congestion that everybody forgets.

    Congestion occurs because everyone is travelling at the same time for about 90 minutes at the beginning and end of each day.

    If the start and finish times for schools, shops and businesses were staggered, the congestion would disappear.

    A big City could be zoned with start and finish times stratified towards the centre.

    There would be problems with, e.g., the schoolchildren of working parents, but they are not insurmountable; after school clubs already exist at lots of schools to look after the relatively small number of children whose parents are working and cannot pick up their children until well after school finishes.

    1. rose
      March 30, 2011

      They are staggered already in our city: school run mothers cause traffic jams and additional danger from c. 3.15 -4.30pm; shops shut at 5.30pm-10pm; office workers go home 6.0 pm onwards. Then there is the breakfast rush hour and the lunch one. So we have noise, pollution, and danger, round the clock. Saturday morning is the most dangerous and unpleasant of the lot, and Sunday, when there is no parking charge, is chaos. How much more must we take? It isn’t Co2 we suffer from, but poisonous air, noise, and danger. It is all very stressful and there is no escape for those who don’t contribute to the problem; only for those who do.

      What about a chivalrous hierarchy of consideration instead of speed limits, traffic calming, and lights? Motorists give way to bicyclists; bicyclists give way to pedestrians; able-bodied pedestrians give way to the very old and very young; and everyone gives way to the disabled? That would save a lot of fuel, because motorists would then drive more slowly and carefully, finally accepting that they don’t have exclusive rights to the Queen’s Highway just because they have been allowed to occupy it for the last hundred years.

      1. alan jutson
        March 31, 2011

        Smaller and more local schools where the majority could walk to would also help.

        Local Authorities seem to favour large schools, often out of town, which requires bussing in, and car journies over long (too far to walk)distances.

        The difference in traffic volumes and congestion is huge and can be seen during school holidays.

      2. Stuart Fairney
        March 31, 2011

        Which city is this?

        1. rose
          April 1, 2011

          Bristol, where Hitler bombed the tramways’ energy centre, where the topography and geology rule out an underground – though there could be vaporetti on the waterways – and where Dawn Primarolo was sponsored by the TGWU to talk out the METRO bill. Other enlightened schemes for clean and quiet public transport have been turned down. So now there is only an unreconstructed round-the-mulberry-bush 1960s diesel bus service which noisily belches out black fumes, blocks the way, and doesn’t take people where they want it to. Motoring is out of control and even the motorists complain about their jams and fumes. The Liberal Democrat council’s remedy is to provide ever more bumper to bumper on-street parking at subsidised rates, and turn a blind eye to pavement parking. Their socialist predecessors classified the air in the centre of the city as officially too poisonous to breathe, but did nothing to correct it either. The sick joke is that they have both awarded themselves the title “Cycling City”, while bicyclists continue to be maimed and killed on the roads, including the mature and experienced son of the Conservative leader. Children are not allowed even to walk short distances to school because their mothers consider it too dangerous and too poisonous, and therefore add to it all themselves.

          1. rose
            April 1, 2011

            It has been suggested the mothers contribute some 20% of the problem but I don’t know if that is true.

  10. Iain Gill
    March 30, 2011

    CO2 is pushed up by silly road humps, chicanes and road thinning etc forcing cars to slow to a crawl and speed up for no reason

    CO2 is pushed up by badly sequenced traffic lights

    CO2 is pushed up by unsafe train station car parks forcing people to drive further because their car WILL be damaged if left in some station car parks

    and so on

    1. FaustiesBlog
      March 30, 2011

      In other words, the government is the problem. I fully agree.

    2. lifelogic
      March 30, 2011

      actually lights deliberately sequenced to be “anti car” traffic lights.

  11. Andrew Campbell
    March 30, 2011

    Greenpeace found that “top three Chinese power companies together emitted more than the total greenhouse gas emissions of the United Kingdom in the same year.” The UK’s carbon emissions simply don’t matter, and it’s ridiculous to hobble our economy by requiring lower emissions.

    1. lifelogic
      March 30, 2011

      Agreed I also tend to the view that world CO2 emissions in general do not matter either.

    2. APL
      March 30, 2011

      Andrew Campbell: “Greenpeace ..”

      Sorry Andrew, but Greenpeace are part of the problem.

  12. English Pensioner
    March 30, 2011

    Public transport may be good for getting around towns and cities, but for long distance travel is is generally not worth the hassle as few people want to travel between city centres. The car is far more convenient, it is generally cheaper (in spite of the current fuel prices) than train, even with only one passenger, with two or more passengers there’s no argument. (Buy one, get one free!)
    Sending goods by rail is a different manner, cargo doesn’t get stroppy if it is stuck in the middle of nowhere due to a signal failure! But this battle was lost years ago when we failed to modernise and build freight terminals which could handle containers efficiently.
    At one time all our milk went by rail; I remember as a schoolboy the daily milk train trundling past our school a few minutes before four every afternoon on its way to the United Dairy depot at White City, we didn’t have watches in those days, so we knew it was almost time to finish for the day. The train ran as regular as clockwork, always spot on time. But now all milk goes by road, and once organisations change, it is hard to get them to change back.
    And I’m still not convinced that man made climate change is taking place, and even less convinced that CO2 is the cause.

    1. Neil
      March 30, 2011

      I can remember the special trains…. Fish, milk, papers, mail then the rail unions decided as they had these trapped customers they would stike everyother week for more tea breaks. Guess what!! They all go by road now

  13. alan jutson
    March 30, 2011

    Cars run more efficiently when able to drive at a consistant speed in as higher gear as is sensible.

    Local authorites have over the years introduced many more traffic lights, more speed humps, more chicanes, more so called traffic management systems, they all operate 24 hours a day because they are fixed obstructions. They may work for a few hours of the day, but for the majority of the time they make cars and travel much more inefficient and frustrate your journey.

    John you mention the M42 rescue lane running, but that needs constant ctv supervision and monitoring in case of breakdown, which if it happens, then causes traffic chaos and danger for a period.
    If we had built roads with enough capacity for future expansion in the first place, then we would no have such extra expense now. It is much cheaper to build a six lane motorway at the start, with all bridges the right width, all junctions with the correct flow, than have the 10 year farce we have at the moment widening the M25 and all of the bridges and junctions which go over it at a huge additional cost in both finance and delay to journeys. Other motorways, main A roads and duel carriageways have similar problems.

    Whilst it would mean a massive investment in bridge building, and tunnel widening, some continental trains are double decker, thus increasing capacity substantially with the same number, and length of trains. hence station platforms as existing would not need lengthening (a problem in London and other major cities)

    The Tube, Picadilly line from Heathrow, has no extra spaces for luggage than does any other tube train, WHY NOT, hence anyone using this service trips over cases which are stuffed in isles, block entry end exit points, and with luggage suffed often yards away from its owner, is more liable to theft when it is difficult to keep your eyes on your own bags, when on a crowded train. etc.

    The problem is there is NO JOINED UP THINKING between Government departments, Local Authorities, passenger service providers, and customer needs.

    The goalposts keep on being moved, hece we end up with a shambles.

    Just like local authorities when making planning decisions, they often RESTRICT parking places for cars on a development, because they want people to use public transport, even where none exists. Its CRAZY thinking.

    1. lifelogic
      April 3, 2011

      I can remember planning consent being conditional on sufficient parking provision and in other situations where they insisted on there being too little.

      The state sector are just as happy building white elephants as pink rhinos – all they want is pay and pensions. They do not really even care if one department is working directly against the aims of another. To them it is just more pay and pensions and maybe even the need for a new coordination department.

  14. Mark
    March 30, 2011

    Any government that believes that CO2 is a major threat to the future of the planet needs a policy that will curb the rapid growth of CO2 production in China – already the world’s largest producer, with an output that grow more than the total UK production every year. A government that lacks such a policy is not serious about the CO2 idea.

    It is demonstrably not sufficient to claim that reducing CO2 here will encourage the Chinese to do so – because we have reduced even while their output growth has accelerated. Indeed, every time we close industry here, it is replaced by production abroad, often in China and usually in a less CO2 efficient manner because they have to open a new coal fired power station every week.

    Although that shows the government is clearly not serious about CO2 (and instead seems keen to cede our economic well being by encouraging industry to shut down through uncompetitive energy prices and ever increased taxation of lower cost energy production) there are measures that it could take to help reduce sclerosis in our transport systems.

    Transport clogs up during rush hours, so we need measures that spread out the peak demand. Workers have no option but to travel from home to work at the time dictated by their employer, regardless of any price incentive to do otherwise such as peak fares or congestion and car park charging. The only option for an employee when travel cost becomes too high is to stop work and rely on benefits at home instead – an unfortunate by-product of government policy to keep increasing the real cost of travel. Therefore it is employers who should bear the burden of the added cost of peak travel, so that they can rationally decide whether it is economically justified, or whether they could reduce peak demand by re-locating some jobs out of a city centre, or spreading working hours, or encouraging more home working. By spreading out the peaks, the need for higher levels of peak capacity are reduced with demand being shifted to lower use periods, allowing average utilisation rates to increase and improving the economics of transport systems.

    Incidentally, I usually avoid the controlled section of the M42 unless I am going to the NEC or the South about route is impassable, because the tendency of the controllers to play with the “train set” and impose unjustified restrictions and fail to lift them (also because M6 toll is overpriced, while the regular M6 needs money currently earmarked for HS2). The police should be encouraged to re-open motorways as rapidly as possible following accidents (usually the reason the other route round Birmingham is blocked). Modern technology could speed their investigations of causes.

    Modern technology could also alert motorists to traffic congestion much more efficiently: if coming from e.g. Leeds I can evaluate in an instant whether to stay on the M1, or divert via a range of cross-routes to the M40 if I can get access to a laptop to look at the Google traffic map. Put similar maps up in lights roadside, and display them at MWSAs.

    1. FaustiesBlog
      March 30, 2011


      The carbon emissions scheme is nothing more than a means of taxation, and another earner for the financial institutions which run it.

      The entire industry is comprised of jobs for the boys: wind farms and their subsidies, smart meters and an eventual smart grid, etc.

      BTW, John, please look into smart meters and the RF radiation problems it causes. The government denies that RF causes health problems (I know, because I’ve written to the relevant department) but the evidence is growing that it most certainly does. The multitude of people who are electro-sensitive are the canaries in the mine shaft. The government ignores them at its peril.

      Check out the video on my sidebar. This needs to be investigated.

      Eventually, the carbon emission scheme will lead to global taxation by the unelected and unaccountable – global government.

  15. Lindsay McDougall
    March 30, 2011

    If reducing carbon dioxide emissions is the objective, then the following measures will be most effective:
    (1) Zero population growth, largely based on immigration control
    (2) An end to all transport subsidies, including concessions
    (3) A major programme of road junction capacity improvements

  16. John B
    March 30, 2011

    “Fully loaded trains produce less carbon dioxide per traveller and per mile and can do a good job in reducing delays and stress.”

    I am disappointed to see, Mr Redwood, that you have fallen for this false logic, the usual smoke and mirrors of the climate change lobby.

    Fully loaded – even empty – trains produce a significant amount of CO2.

    What is to be considered is the total CO2 output not that per capita.

    China for example has a much lower per capita output of CO2 than the USA but in actual tonnage produces more, and in fact USA total out put is going down whilst China’s is rocketing.

    Outgoing long wavelength radiation upon interacting with a CO2 molecule does not concern itself with whether the molecule is from low per capita or high per capita origin. It is the amount in the atmosphere that counts, not whence it came.

    The effect by the way declines logarithmically as concentration increases: peak was passed decades ago.

    CO2 output must be measured for an entire train journey with the train running empty, then with incremental increase for any additional burden (passenger) placed on it depending on the duration the burden is carried. A complex practically impossible computation.

    What has to be considered then is the total CO2 output of the rail network versus the total CO2 output of motor traffic. and whether this difference is significant, or will significantly decrease or increase as an expanded network – should we ever manage to build such a thing – takes over from road traffic.

    Let’s not forget the electricity needed by trains is supplied by fossil fuels mostly, and the huge transmission losses in supplying it to the railways must be included in the CO2 calculation, not just that for the actual energy to move the train, which the eco-loons conveniently overlook in making their biased computations.

    Fossil fuel generated electricity will increase – or the lights will go out – as the so-called Government dithers over nuclear, whilst idiotically it believes wind or solar power can make a significant contribution to the grid despite all observations in the UK and elsewhere to the contrary.

    Of course if those in Government were to consider that the observed evidence of air and sea temperatures, and behaviour of the climate these last 30 years does not support the global warming/climate change scam, this issue would have gone the way of all the other dooms of recent memory, Y2K, various ‘flu epidemics, a new ice age, overpopulation and World famine for example.

    1. forthurst
      March 30, 2011

      Y2K was a serious issue as many people working in the IT industry at the time will vouch for. Unfortunately, like most people you get your world view from the MSM which in general is a conduit for ‘received’ wisdom much of which is (questionable-ed), even if in the case of CO2 you, yourself, have been able to access on the web information on the (twisting -ed) of historical ‘evidence’ with the presentation of the (inaccurate -ed) Mondeo climate model for future predictive extrapolations.

      Y2K presented a huge number of date related conditions in computer systems which had never been tested and, in general, if a condition has not been tested, it safely can be presumed to fail.

      1. Iain Gill
        March 30, 2011

        nonsense it was overblown hype and large amounts of wasted man time on a risk which was easily mitigated in much cheaper ways

        classic case study in how much nonsense the consultancy industry speaks

        a bit like looking through …. predictions from 5 years ago, which they go to a lot of trouble to hide as they are no better at predicting than a five year old with dice

        1. forthurst
          March 30, 2011

          I said it was a serious problem. That it was not approached in all cases in a sane and sensible fashion is entirely irrelevant to that proposition.

        2. lifelogic
          April 3, 2011

          Agreed it had some truth in some systems but was mainly a scam to create new state sector and quango jobs, and sell new computer systems, even washing machines to gullible customers.

  17. Euan
    March 30, 2011

    I think the reduction in emissions will be done without any interfering from government when oil gets to $200 plus a barrel. What do-gooders should be encouraging is localisation in power generation, manufacture and living arrangements. That will actually help cushion us from price shocks unlike this never ending obsession with travelling further and further in the course of everyday living.
    Think ahead- who will be able to afford to commute hundreds of miles when fuel is £10 -15 a gallon?

    1. sm
      March 30, 2011

      As noted above what happens when imported oil escalates as we borrow and print more paper.

      A possible solution: Car-wagon-trains.
      I would love to drive to an M25 junction, onto a wagontrain and 100, 200,300 miles later drive it off say near the M6/M1 junction or M1/M62 or further. Having read the paper had a coffee and avoided jams done same work made a few calls. Then complete the remainder of the journey by driving off in my car.

      The problem would be the expensive tickets versus efficient motorway cruising, but it also mitigate electric battery range problems as they could recharge on the journey.

  18. Anoneumouse
    March 30, 2011

    Mr Redwood ‘carbon dioxide’ is plant food. Do you really want to kill off plant life?

    The question that you should be asking is How many degrees of warming will this scheme prevent?

  19. NickW
    March 30, 2011

    We need a Golden Rule on Climate Change.

    “No “Green” Taxes should be introduced unless they will result in a net reduction of GLOBAL CO2 output.”

    Taxes which cripple our industry and force us to buy the same thing from abroad, resulting in increased transport costs and less efficient manufacture elsewhere are too stupid for words.

    Taxes which force millions into fuel poverty without having any effect on global CO2 output are too stupid for words.

    Wasting billions of pounds we don’t have to pay subsidies on disastrously expensive “alternative energy” projects which will be insufficient for our needs is too stupid for words.

    A little common sense is urgently needed. The electorate has that common sense; why don’t our politicians?

  20. Bernard Otway
    March 30, 2011

    Dioxide Shmoxide as my best friend Abe would say
    CO2 generated on Planet Earth is 3% of the total and our % of that is point something.
    Mount Pinatubo erupted for 11 days in 1991 and the US geological survey concluded in it’s
    thorough study of the eruption ,that more pollution entered the atmosphere in the 11 days
    than MANKIND had created since the beginning of the industrial revolution in about 1770 or
    over 221 years to be precise.A main component of volcanic eruptions is Sulphur Dioxide,which when combined with water vapour blocks the Sun’s rays reducing the temperature,it has been calculated that EVERY eruption anywhere that is major and there is at least ONE major one every year,reduces the temperature by at least half a degree for six months or more. in 2009 at the chelsea flower show at Hampton Court I took my wife to see it and while there visited the Dept of the environment pavillion dedicated to the Religion of Man Made Global Warming,she did not come in with me saying that she KNEW what i was going to do.They showed Al Gore’s Sermon called An Inconvenient Truth [Shown all the time as GOSPEL to school kids],at the end questions were invited from an audience of about 200,my hand went up first.I first asked if any of the young
    disciples from the opus dei of the dept had heard of Mount Pinatubo,answer NO I then
    told them off for NOT knowing and related what I have said above exhorting the audience to Google to check,also I said that while still in South Africa I caused mayhem at a WWF
    display in a major shopping centre, showing on the map of the world the effect of a ONE metre rise in sea levels due to supposedly melting ICECAPS ,asking WHY parts of the world and particularly South Africa were shown as Under water, that at the present time were more than 500 metres ABOVE sea level asking where the EXTRA 499 metres of water level increase had come from,obviously NO answers at all just VERY RED faces.This caused
    mayhem too such an extent with the audience that the shaven headed monks from the dept of the environment ejected me.BUT all the audience heard and were asked by me to CHECK my facts.All we need is a policy on transport that is sensible and takes into consideration what YOU John said about your recent train journeys up north,I read somewhere in an American motoring magazine,that California achieved a significant decrease in congestion by just properly synchronising it’s traffic lights,look at ours here and tell me that cannot happen here,traffic must be allowed to travel smoothly that is all.

  21. David John Wilson
    March 30, 2011

    I agree that there should be a greater concentration on reducing the CO2 used by trains rather than higher speed trains. However it is wrong to assume that the reduction acheived by invidual cars cannot also be matched by public transport, in particular buses.

    What is equally important is that renewable energy is more efficiently used by trains than by cars and also we need to reduce the imports of oil and coal. The argument is not just about CO2 but also about reducing our dependence on the increasingly costly imported oil.

  22. FaustiesBlog
    March 30, 2011

    One of Cameron’s pre-election pledges was to make working from home more prevalent. What happened to that pledge?

    I don’t see how you can tempt car commuters to switch to rail at peak times when:

    1) rail is far more expensive
    2) rail is just as over-crowded
    3) chances of getting a seat are remote
    4) rail is less reliable
    5) rail is more hassle
    6) door-to-door, rail takes too long
    7) rail commutes are not viable on some routes.

    WRT 6 and 7, concerned about rising oil prices, I looked into travelling to and from work by rail. I had to be at work at 7am (IT), but there were no buses or trains that could get me there at that time. Indeed, if I left my home at 6am, I would get to work at 12:15 at the earliest. Despite the cost of diesel, the cost of getting to and from work by train would be double that of my road commute.

    If the government – or should I say, the EU – attempt to get us to use rail by squeezing our wallets, it will not succeed. Indeed, it might become the catalyst for a further groundswell against both the government and the EU.

    1. David John Wilson
      March 31, 2011

      Just to correct a few of your facts for someone living in Wokigham and working in Reading.

      1) The rail fare to Reading is cheaper than parking in Reading.
      2) The rail journey is quicker even with a ten minute extra walk at either end.
      3) It is very rare that you can’t get a seat. Occasionally in the morning.
      4) You can read on the train.
      5) The trains are on time within a few minutes 95% of the time.
      6) You don’t have the hassle of finding a parking spot

      1. lifelogic
        April 3, 2011

        From what you say parking must be too expensive in Reading and not enough is provided. Also the train journey is probably over subsidised.

  23. Neil Craig
    March 30, 2011

    The thing is that one you accept it is axciomatic that CO2 is a significant problemit requires infinite flexibility to keep your feet on the ground.

    The globe is not currently warming, it is cooling. It is unlikely that CO2 would, in any case, have an effect of more than a tenth of a degree. Within historic times temperature has been at least 1 degree warmer than now and during the Climate Optimum (named before the present mess) it was up to 4 degrees warmer. thevUK’s influence on gloabl CO2 is miniscule. There are inexpensive geoengineering solutions to warming should it ever become a problem. Increased CO2 means increased crop growth and the increase is thus responsible for about 10% of the world’s food. CO2 is not a problem, cutting it, if it were possibel, would be.

    Under no circumstances should CO2 production be a significant consideration in any policy. I write this even though I am strongly supportive of nuclear power.

  24. Javelin
    March 30, 2011

    You cant put more trains on the line at rushhour – fullstop!

    The train network is broken up into tiny little sections and only one train is allowed on a section at one time. The optimal commuting timetable was worked out just after the war (by some clever bloke) and they havent been able to improve it. My brother was a consultant about 20 years ago who worked on a team trying to improve things and they proved you couldn’t.

    You can increase the capacity of trains or build more lines – but you cant put more trains in the timetable. The roads are full up too. Buses just clog up the roads even more. London is full. Politicans need to accept it and stop hinting at improvements because there won’t be any.

    I would recommend working from home more – as by far and away the more cost effective solution.

    Reply: if you build lighter trains with better brakes, and have better signals you can increase the number of trains. You can also enlarge the trains. The track is emopty for most of the time with current technology.

    1. lifelogic
      March 30, 2011

      Answer to rely – also if you make them smaller and design them so they can also go on tarmac, have on board fuel instead of over head electric and just take say 5/7 people and go door to door they become much more efficient.

      We could call then cars and vans perhaps.

  25. Damien
    March 30, 2011

    I still have no clear idea what the current transport policy is !

    My perspective is from someone living and working in London. As I see it we will be paying the bulk of the costs of HS2 from taxes generated here, however ‘he who pays the piper calls the tune’ does not seem to figure in the discourse. Few of us in London will benefit from HS2 and my feeling is that by 2026 when it is completed car emissions will be zero ! Therefore your suggestion of addressing bottlenecks and flow seems a better long term and cost efficient approach.

    Another concern I have is the safety of cyclists and pedestrians going about their business in congested areas. Liverpool Street station has 123m people using it every year and that figure will increase by an additional 40m when its new crossrail station opens.

    I accept the need for rural private transport but as a trade off for our taxes and support could more be done to address pedestrian safety?

    The latest figures from the City of London reports that pedestrians and cyclists accounted for 76% of the killed and seriously injured(K&SI). Although the overall number of injured is 343 in 2009 it is still unacceptably high. There should be a government policy to reduce unnecessary road traffic in areas like the City of London as there are plenty of public transport options.

    It is time to stop attributing the K&SI figures to “pedestrian inattention” and reduce the speed limit in the City to 20 mph. I feel the argument is ‘us and them’ when a more collaborative and inclusive approach would be more effective.

  26. BobE
    March 30, 2011

    We should start by changing all government cars to be electric cars. This would then be our leaders leading by example.
    Can you get a gee-wizz limo?

    1. lifelogic
      March 30, 2011

      Electric cars are nonsense (when equally taxed to petrol) – just do the sums.

  27. Susan
    March 30, 2011

    To be honest, the public is turned off by this green agenda, they know very well it is just a means to raise taxation. I have never seen any set of policies introduced before, on so little evidence. It has to be proved to the public beyond any doubt that these green measures are necessary, before changes such as you suggest are made. We have windmills everywhere, which are a blot on our landscape, and will probably prove in time to damage the health of those living near them. Children have the green agenda rammed down their throats to the point of creating fear. Cameron may believe in it, but he has yet to convince the public.

    The only green issue worth anything is a reduction in our population by introducing policy to lower the birth rate. Immigration has added substantially to Britains population and in turn they still tend to have large families. This is what needs to be controlled not CO2. Of course the Government instead encourages people to have more children by measures they introduce. We all know why, to produce work horses for the future to pay tax. This, however, may not be such a great plan considering how many British people are on benefits, will need a pension and care in the future from the state and lack of housing.

    I remember my Father telling me, they were frightened at school because scientists had said that a new ice age was imminent. The British always have to take issues to the extreme, when some scientist, who probably gets more funding for saying some new idea, comes up with some unproven theory, until it is proved wrong of course, after mega amounts of money has been wasted.

    So you can call me a complete CC denier if you wish, but hey I guess you have much more trouble with deficit deniers, there is a heck of a lot more of them.

  28. Brian Tomkinson
    March 30, 2011

    The government is more interested in spending taxpayers’ money and raising more taxes than creating an efficient transport system. They don’t seem to have understood that the public has seen through their climate change ruse. Meanwhile the fastest developing countries are rubbing their hands with glee as our own government makes our task of competing with them more and more difficult. Why did we vote Conservative?

    1. waramess
      March 30, 2011

      I suppose the answer to that question is because most did not wish to risk another four years of Brown. How would they vote now that the option is Milliband?

      Did we really do something to deserve this?

  29. Bazman
    March 30, 2011

    Any transport policy has to include housing and planning. You could reduce congestion and thus pollution by building a sixteen lane motorway from South Wales to London, but I doubt this one would go through.
    Why does the government never mention the benefits of two wheeled transport such as motorcycle and include this in any transport policy? They take up less space cause less pollution and are very fast. The modern motorcycle and it’s related accessories are very much more advanced than most people imagine.

    1. lifelogic
      March 30, 2011

      Agreed predict and provide roads as needed – motor bike are fine for two needs a level playing field for all different technology not political/religious nonsense.

  30. Winston Smith
    March 30, 2011

    Are CO2 emissions targets absolute or per person? If the former, how does this correspond with successive Governments immigration policies, i.e. increasing our population? New migrants are mostly young and consume much more than the old. If its CO2 by person, what is the global benefit of importing people from poor and developing nations into a highly consumerist society? I guess, the liberal elite assume the migrants will follow their green agenda. Hmmm…..

  31. cosmic
    March 30, 2011

    The UK produces around 2% of global CO2 emissions. If the British Isles sank beneath the Atlantic tomorrow, it would make not an iota of difference to the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. The link between CO2 and global temperatures is dubious one at best.

    And yet we have had two successive governments, obsessed with CO2 to the extent of distorting the economy, subsidising wind turbines slyly via hidden extra charges, driving industry abroad (at a probably increase in global emissions) etc.

    As for this, the answer is to work out a sensible transport policy, without reference to ‘carbon’.

    Anyway, there are more pressing problems than transport to address, such as what we will do for electricity in the next few years when we have closed down much of our existing reliable electricity generating capacity and much of that being done because of the obsession with ‘carbon’.

  32. BobE
    March 30, 2011

    Presumably the royal wedding people will all be using electric cars!! What a wonderful example that would be to us all. None of those heavy fuel using Rolls Royces then 😉

    1. lifelogic
      March 30, 2011

      Good old prince Charles I am sure they will all come from round the world on bikes eating his horrible over priced biscuits. We believe in science when it is Global Warming ” science” and not when it is alternative medicine.

      Do as I say not as I do – I fly the world in planes helicopters and Aston Martins and Rolls and run several huge houses you do not get a holiday in Spain and have to walk to work.

  33. adam
    March 30, 2011

    EU officially announces car ban plan –

    The European Commission on Monday unveiled a “single European transport area” aimed at enforcing “a profound shift in transport patterns for passengers” by 2050.
    The plan also envisages an end to cheap holiday flights from Britain to southern Europe with a target that over 50 per cent of all journeys above 186 miles should be by rail.
    Top of the EU’s list to cut climate change emissions is a target of “zero” for the number of petrol and diesel-driven cars and lorries in the EU’s future cities.
    Siim Kallas, the EU transport commission, insisted that Brussels directives and new taxation of fuel would be used to force people out of their cars and onto “alternative” means of transport.

  34. BobE
    March 30, 2011

    John, The reason goods are carried on the roads is because of the “Triple load problem”
    This because the goods need to be loaded at the production point and travel to the train(Load 1) Then unloaded and reloaded onto the train. The train then travels(Load 2). The goods then need to be unloaded from the train, loaded onto a truck and delivered to the destination(Load 3).
    The high cost of this handling and organising is dramatically reduced by using one truck that starts from production and travels directly to the destination.
    It just doesn’t stack up and never will.

    1. lifelogic
      March 31, 2011

      Agreed only ever works for very long distances even then is marginal usually.

  35. Dennis A
    March 30, 2011

    I have to drive 30 miles to get to a station from mid Wales. As most of the comments have said, CO2 is not a problem so why are we worrying about it.

    If it were a problem, then all military operations should cease now, what is the carbon footprint of chucking million pound a time bombs and cruise missiles at Libya?

    Also the Olympic games should be cancelled. Think of all the extra travelling, plus all the extra CO2 generated by the athletes when performing. Cycling should be banned for the same reason.

  36. lojolondon
    March 31, 2011

    John, we are used to you demonstrating common sense, and ignoring populist rubbish, so please meet our expectations by blowing the whistle on the CO2 hoax!

    1. The earth has cooled, not warmed over the last 12 years.
    2. CO2 does not cause the earth to warm
    3. Man has almost no effect on the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere (<1%)

    Any of the above statements on its own is enough to torpedo the whole AGW hoax, yet all three are true and the sheep(lemmings!) keep on following the same tired old road.

    Please stop speaking about CO2 as if it is a dangerous menace to the human race, to be avoided at all costs, and not a tiny, insignificant trace gas which is vital to life on earth.

    Reply: Try reading what I write – I have never said CO2 is a menace.

    1. lojolondon
      March 31, 2011

      True, you never said CO2 is a menace – but every paragraph above mentions CO2. CO2 is completely and utterly irrelevant to the wellbeing of the planet, unless there is too little and then we will all surely die, very soon.

      I asked for you to blow the whistle on the hoax, if you feel you cannot do that politically, then at least please do not include the subject in your blog, as every mention of the hoax lends credence to the story.

      Reply: I do need to set out how the political establishment sees these things, as well as express my own views. I have in the past set out my views: to summarise I want an energy policy based on security of supply and the cost effective pursuit of energy efficiency.

      1. lifelogic
        April 3, 2011

        JR you say

        “I want an energy policy based on security of supply and the cost effective pursuit of energy efficiency.”

        So do I – but not one modified by the political nonsense of the new, totally unscientific, carbon pricing religion.

  37. David Cooper
    March 31, 2011

    Back to the M42 improvements. After what has seemed like two years, hard shoulder running has now been fully implemented on the M6 north and south in the previously awful stretch between the Aston Expressway and the M54, and it has already made a major positive difference in traffic flow. The theoretical problem of a blocked hard shoulder is overcome to some extent via emergency refuge areas – far more efficient than a massive stretch of empty lane – and is monitored as others have pointed out. It all goes to show that the best way to beat traffic congestion is to improve the flow, not to seek to obstruct it accidentally or deliberately. Four lanes good, three lanes bad!

  38. Martin
    March 31, 2011

    Much of the congestion in the Thames Valley is due to successive governments ducking improving the extremely congested transport networks.

    The last Conservative government proposed widening the M4 at Maidenhead. The white flag was run up after some Nimbys started moaning in Maidenhead.

    An extra runway at Heathrow was scuppered by the present Con/Lib government.There are doubtless similar schemes that Labour have ducked as well.

    If the politicians can’t give the things planning permission then we stay stuck.

    1. lifelogic
      April 3, 2011

      Agreed how many jobs have been lost by the lack or an additional Heathrow runway? A rather better investment that HS2 for sure.

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