This guest blog comes from Mason Cole, MA Politics and Contemporary History student and Sustainability Champion Assistant (SCA), supporting the King’s Energy Team.
London is famed for its red double-decker buses, but those of you with a keen eye may have noticed that some of these are turning green… According to Transport for London (TfL), London’s 9,500-strong bus fleet attracts a daily ridership of 6 million people on a weekday across 673 routes. In this blog, we explore the link between transport and energy and what is being done to reduce emissions in this area.
The relationship between transport and energy
It is simply impossible to talk about energy without mentioning transport. The transport sector was responsible for over 24% of global emissions in 2016, and this figure has been growing year on year. In the UK specifically, this number peaked in 2007 before a slight decline but has been rising again since 2013. The root cause of the problem is unquestionably road vehicles, which account for 72% of global transport emissions.
The concern with transport is not limited to vehicle emissions either. The transport sector is heavily reliant on oil as an energy source, with over 53% of global primary oil consumption in 2010 being used to meet 94% of the total transport energy demand. The good news? This reliance seems to be decreasing. Energy consumption by the transport sector has shrunk to 31% in the years since. There is, however, still a long way to go.
What is being done?
In London, the focus has very much been on targeting these road vehicles. You may have heard of certain initiatives such as the Congestion Charge Zone, the phasing out of diesel taxis or “Ultra-Low Emission Zones”. While these have had a positive impact, more action is needed, and more action has been promised.
Mayor Sadiq Kahn has committed to ensuring 80% of all Londoner’s trips be made by foot, bicycle or public transport by 2041. To achieve this, there are plans to expand the cycle network and continue to enforce “Ultra-Low Emission Zones” and building on the Toxicity Charge (T-Charge). This would include incorporating central London into a “Zero-Emission Zone” by 2025 to be expanded to a London-wide zone by 2050. Additionally, from next year all new double-decker buses will be hybrid, electric or hydrogen, while it is hoped that the entire bus fleet will be completely emission-free by 2037.
What can you do?
As a London resident, you can do your bit by avoiding driving in the city (although we’re sure not many students plan on driving around London). Of course, we would encourage walking or cycling (though always carry an umbrella!) for short distances, and public transport for longer ones.
What is King’s doing?
Tune in to our #TakeoverTuesday tomorrow (Tuesday 29 June) on the King’s Sustainability Instagram. We will be filling you in on what King’s is doing to help.
As always, if you have any further questions or want to get involved with King’s Energy, get in touch!