Key policies 2018-20
Policy that will prepare us for the best quality of life in a fossil fuel free world.
We are told that we have a ‘carbon budget’. I believe that is a false narrative. We already have a dangerously warming world, caused by man-made emissions. We have frittered away any ‘carbon budget’ on the false dawn of ‘transition’ gas, ‘clean diesel’ and ‘hybrids’
The reality is we are now surrounded with fossil fuel stranded assets. All the fossil fuel cars that line our streets, petrol, diesel, hybrid (there are very few pure electric cars). And everyone that is holding onto a fossil fuel car, for that ‘occasional’ trip, is also part of the problem.
Dinosaur fossil fuel cars are clogging up public space that could be for safe walking and cycling. These redundant cars, wasting valuable space, are slowing the move to walking, cycling for the 68% of UK car journeys that are under 5 miles. Car parking on public land could also be re-purposed for local food growing, biodiversity, sustainable urban drainage and carbon absorbing trees.
And then we have all the ‘transition’ gas boilers and gas cookers.
Imagine if tomorrow was the first day we could no longer burn fossil fuels. We would wake up to a world where most of us couldn’t have a hot shower, heat our home or cook breakfast. We have invested an enormous amount of embedded carbon in ‘transition’ gas central heating. It will take enormous energy, jobs, cash and embedded carbon to extricate us from this strategic failure. We must be more focused. And get the strategy right this time.
Meanwhile a large part of our electricity is fossil fuel (Gas and Coal) generated.
Current energy demand is far outpacing our ability to produce renewables, meaning we continue to burn fossil fuel to meet that demand. So radically cutting energy use to meet renewables is also absolutely vital. This is where energy allowances play a vital role.
We are no longer in ‘transition’ we are in countdown to a zero net carbon world ASAP.
The IPCC report makes that abundantly clear:
We have 12 years to limit climate change catastrophe, warns UN
“There is nothing opaque about this new data. The illustrations of mounting impacts, the fast-approaching and irreversible tipping points are visceral versions of a future that no policy-maker could wish to usher in or be responsible for.” – Christiana Figueres
So lets call what we have now, what it really is, a ‘damage limitation carbon budget’.
And lets start establishing a hierarchy of carbon investment for the common good.
For instance why are we investing heavily in electric car infrastructure when there are viable alternatives such as walking and cycling that can replace the majority of short car journeys? And why haven’t we even begun to de-carbonise heating?
Data now has the same carbon footprint as aviation. A rapid rise in data processing has increased our energy use substantially. How can we use data more efficiently? And how can we stop getting sucked into pyramid schemes, invented by tech companies to maximise their profit, where there is no running product but just the ‘hope of the company’.
The reality is that automation of logic has been impossible. Complexity boundaries were reached. And Driverless ‘innovation’ is nothing more than a pyramid of wobbly cards.
Here are my key policies:
- Regular car-free, fly-free and work-free days to cut emissions (Direct, immediate action)
- World fossil fuel free days (we need many trials to experience what this looks like and where we need to be better prepared)
- Free cycles for everyone and free secure cycle parking (This must be the mainstream go-to for personal journeys under 5 miles)
- A hierarchy of energy use for the common good. (Where cooking, heating and hot showers are higher priorities for renewables than low occupancy, inefficient electric cars and data proliferation)
- De-carbonise heating, hot water and cooking ASAP (Millions of green jobs urgently needed with appropriate training)
- Free trees for every garden (on private land in the UK as well as mass planting on public land. Trees absorb carbon and are a critical part of climate action) Every tree copse and woodland in the UK must be listed and protected.
- Resident allotment permits for food growing on current wasteful resident parking spaces. Perishable greens are high carbon because of the quantity that is degraded in transport. Food security is important. As is locally sourced produce needed to reduce road /air miles
- A ban on advertising for planet destroying consumerables (car adverts, meat and long distance flights /holidays).
- Concern about high energy use of tech promoted for per the mile road pricing. (Telematics is a high energy user of data Not appropriate for a low carbon, low energy future. Energy use allowances would be far more effective at reducing car use. We need to address the cause not the symptom).
- Ban automation in motor vehicles (Not safe or proven technology. No algorithmic transparency of accountability. It is a very high energy user (there are 100 computers on one Automated Vehicle, equivalent to boiling 3 electric kettles continuously) plus radar, sensors and cameras. Mostly designed for data harvesting and surveillance.
- Carbon, energy and data allowances for everyone (Energy allowances will allow people to choose between a hot shower, downloading a Netflix boxset or using a car to drive a few miles down the road)
- Switch investment and jobs away from the car industry and road building to pinning solar to every roof possible ASAP (The car industry is stranded assets and jobs whilst solar is an urgent imperative for a low energy low carbon future)
- Transparent, easily accessible carbon accounting at all levels of Government and Business (With indirect carbon from energy use recorded as well as direct carbon).
- Extend job centre plus travel discount to all public transport
- Basic income (that is nothing to do with Artificial Intelligence but about reducing the working week to 3-4 days to cut energy use and for quality community and family life).
- Education on how to use ICT (Information and communications technology) that is not wasteful of energy. For instance don’t travel via google maps. Plan your journey ahead or use a map. Borrow CDs and DVDs from libraries rather than Netflix and streaming.
- Producing software that is efficient means energy allowances must be applied. Current wasteful and lazy software is burning energy needlessly
- Stopping data proliferation that is used for mass surveillance, data harvesting and selling us stuff we don’t need.
- No forced personal data on the Electoral Register (democracy must be free of outside interference)
- Algorithmic transparency and accountability.
- Tax under-occupation of dwellings. We could house the entire UK population again in the current unoccupied bedrooms. Make more efficient use of current housing stock through taxation. Cutting cement and steel emissions means a radical transformation in the way we build and maintain housing
- Treat plastic as toxic waste Stop producing the stuff. And man-made toxic plastic derivative textiles too. Acrylics nylon spandex. Fleeces are one of the worst. No more lycra cycling gear!
- Cycle only streets and hire bikes at all train stations and bus interchanges.
- Licence pedicabs and apps like pedalmeapp and move to last mile delivery by cargo bike.
- Give every citizen the choice to live a carfree lifestyle with suitable infrastructure and financial incentives
- Mass rewilding of roads to restore nature, biodiversity, carbon absorbing tree cover and flood mitigation.
- EU directive draft proposal
- Every village, town and city in the European Union must have a walking and cycling network.
- Everyone must have the opportunity to walk and cycle safely going about their daily life.
- This must be backed up by an integrated, accessible and joined up Public Transport Network
- Ban motor traffic from the core of every town, city and village
This manifesto appears in this Lloyd Alter article on treehugger.com
KEY POLICIES 2016-20
- Ban diesel (Petrol and Hybrids ) all fossil fuel generated transport in London starting in the central inner city boroughs, roughly zones 1 & 2 and then progressively encompassing the outer boroughs. Setting out a clear and focused plan to switch public transport and commercial from diesel at the earliest possible date.
- Ban all private cars from Central London starting with non-residential and moving quickly to a full ban.
- Prioritise walking and cycling with proportionate representation on TFL board, road space allocation and budget.
- Create a Car-free Cycling network across Greater London Meanwhile continue installing protected cycle lanes on the main arteries.
- Reclaim car parks as brownfield sites to house key workers, at reasonable rents and linked to their jobs in the vicinity.
- Rationalise commercial vehicles by capping PHVs, Taxis and Car Club hire vehicles. Encourage and incentivise cargo bike light delivery. Create transit permits per journey, based on size and environmental impact in central London for delivery, freight and contractor vehicles.
- Plant one million trees throughout London Trees absorb pollution, rainfall (to reduce flooding) increase mental well being as well as other health benefits. They also help ameliorate damaging effects of Climate Change.
- Make solar power an integral part of new builds
These policies will
Save time More reliable journey times for commercial transport as well as commuting and leisure quicker emergency times
School children walking and cycling to school safely reduces congestion at rush hour
Unlock space – On public highway for protected cycle lanes, bus lanes, pedestrianisation For housing from car parks, garages On crowded public transport
Save money – Costs of road building / maintenance NHS costs from inactivity, air pollution, urban diabetes, noise pollution, road casualties Economic costs of congestion
Improve quality of life – More liveable environment, safer streets, cutting noise pollution, air pollution, severance, quicker waiting times for NHS
Create social cohesion Walking and cycling the great equalisers
Increase self-empowerment – To literally self-power (walking, cycling, solar energy) is liberating in a world where democratic rights have been subsumed to corporations
Reduce inequality – The congestion charge and road pricing advantages wealthy car drivers, at the expense of low income Londoners. A ban is much fairer. Creating space for everyone, no matter income level, to cycle and walk is far more democratic use of space. Solar energy given to low income families would reduce fuel poverty.
I do have some issues though:
1. I do have to agree with some related comments I heard recently on the BBC’s “Costing the Earth” Podcast, called Plasticphobia, of October 23rd, 2018; basically that yes, plastic has been massively mis-used. But that there are places where and when (please listen to the podcast if interested) plastic, is better and more durable than the alternatives.
2. Drive the requirement also that existing consumer devices be user repairable (a la the iFixit.org Right to Repair manifesto: https://ifixit.org/right).
All that said, thank you for having the strength to publish this. I came across it via TreeHugger’s article “IPCC says we have 12 years to cut carbon by 45%. What does that look like?”: https://www.treehugger.com/energy-policy/ipcc-says-we-have-12-years-cut-carbon-45-what-does-look.html.
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Thank you Anthony. I totally agree about fixit Another part of the plastic problem is greenhouse emissions https://globalnews.ca/news/4365368/plastic-greenhouse-gas-emissions-pollution-degrade/
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