The UK Climate Change Programme
(published by the DETR in October 1998)

The Official Response of
The Association of British Drivers

1999 January 25

Contents of this document :
Introduction | Response | Energy Supply | Car/Transport | Domestic/Business | Global Warming

 


Introduction

What is the Association of British Drivers?

The Association of British Drivers ("ABD") was founded in 1992, by a group of drivers from across the country and from all walks of life who had become concerned that the case for the motor-car was no longer being put effectively in this country. It was felt that the AA and RAC, with their growing insurance businesses, were no longer fulfilling their traditional role, and that the time was right to set up an organisation solely dedicated to representing the interests of all car users — from ordinary motorists who rely on their car for every day mobility to enthusiasts. The case for the motor-car is, in our view, so obvious that it is in danger of going by default.

How the UK benefits from the Motor-Car

UK motorists contribute close to £30 Billion per annum to the Exchequer, but transport spending currently amounts to a paltry £6 Billion. This represents a very substantial income for the Treasury.

Policy makers will be aware that 2.3 million people and their families are directly dependent on the wider motor industry in the UK for their employment and incomes. The car industry is one the UK’s leading manufacturing industries, one that continues to expand at a time of considerable difficulties for engineering based businesses in this country, and at a time of considerable worldwide economic uncertainty. Truly a success story, the British motor industry continues to receive investments of Billions of Pounds from major world motor manufacturers from the US, Japan, Germany, and France. The car industry has become a major export earner for the UK. But the industry needs a healthy home market if it is to continue to thrive.

The car has been the greatest liberator of all time — giving a degree of freedom and mobility that our great grandparents could only have dreamed of. As car ownership has risen, it has torn down social and geographical barriers, liberated women from the drudgery of shopping daily, enabled families and friends to remain in close contact even when they live miles apart, and made it possible for employers and employees to have access to a much wider market.

The ABD – Britain’s leading drivers’ group

The ABD has taken part in several Consultation exercises in the past, having submitted, inter alia, responses to the Air Quality Strategy, Integrated Transport, Trunk Roads, and Highway Code Consultation Documents. We have been widely quoted in National and some local newspapers, motoring publications, and have appeared on BBC and independent radio and TV broadcasts. Our membership is rising across the country.

The ABD is also represented on the Parliamentary Advisory Council on Transport Safety ("PACTS").

The ABD is entirely independent and is funded by subscription.

 

 

The ABD’s Response

The ABD welcomes the opportunity to put its views forward on the UK Government’s strategy for reducing emissions of so-called "green-house" gases, most notably Carbon Dioxide. The ABD does have serious reservations concerning the science behind the Global Warming Theory, and some of the reasons are given in this response.

Whilst the ABD’s primary object is to represent the interests of this country’s motorists, it is alive to environmental concerns. The Government’s consultation document puts forward for discussion policy ideas that would have a profound — and, in many cases, unacceptable — effect on the lifestyles and quality of life of millions of UK residents. This is most particularly so in the section dealing with transport.

A Positive Response

For the purpose of this response, we have worked on the basis that it would be prudent to cut emissions. We note the Government’s proposals to attempt to cut emissions of man made Carbon Dioxide by 12-20% by 2010.

HOWEVER, WE INTEND TO SHOW THAT THE GOVERNMENT’S POLICY OBJECTIVES IN TERMS OF CARBON DIOXIDE EMISSION REDUCTIONS CAN BE MET WITHOUT THE NEED FOR MEASURES TO RESTRICT CAR USAGE.

Attempts to reduce car usage as part of a policy of cutting Carbon Dioxide emissions — as advocated in the Consultation Document — will potentially carry a heavy economic and social price. The potential unpopularity of some of the measures are bound also to carry a heavy political price to be paid by those responsible for implementing them.

The ABD therefore feels that it is essential that it puts forward its view — a positive view — as to how the reductions could be achieved without these penalties.

This involves extending our comments beyond our traditional field of motoring issues to cover the wider topic of energy policy.

Environmental Policy and the ABD

The ABD does not believe that its aims conflict in any way with a sound environmental policy. On the contrary, a policy which works with car users and with the motor industry will, we believe, be far more likely to succeed in delivering the desired emissions reductions than one which relies on punishing car use. The latter policy will inevitably meet with ever greater resistance from motorists. Furthermore, many of the measures put forward for discussion in the consultation paper, as well as those advocated by some environmental pressure groups with the aim of reducing car usage are likely to cause quite different behavioural modifications from those intended by policymakers. These are likely to include greater social divisions and, paradoxically, a further decline in town centres.

The ABD has become very concerned about the growing power of anti car campaigners working within established environmental groups. These groups are very well organised and well funded. The ABD believes that they are now exerting a disproportionate degree of influence on UK transport policy.

The ABD’s view is that many of the policies now advocated by those organisations are far more anti-car than they are pro-environment. MORE IMAGINATIVE SOLUTIONS ARE REQUIRED THAN HAVE BEEN ENVISAGED TO DATE — based on new energy sources and greater efficiency rather than attempting to "turn the clock back" to some mythical golden age when happy commuters cycled or walked to work on endless sunny days. We believe that many of the solutions put forward by the ABD in this response will be more acceptable to the great silent majority of the UK electorate who do not usually trouble to respond to Government consultation programmes, but whose support will ultimately be essential if the Government’s objectives are to be achieved.

There is therefore every reason — economic, social and political - to take our views into account when deciding on policies. This is especially so, since we believe that improvements in car technology mean that there is now no material environmental price to be paid.

Carbon Dioxide emissions in the UK

Much has been made of the rise in traffic levels over past decades, and the levels of Carbon Dioxide emissions. In fact, overall Carbon Dioxide emission levels in the UK have been falling. Total Carbon Dioxide emissions fell by 10% between 1970 and 1990 (source: Royal Commission Report on Environmental Pollution (Transport and the Environment) 1994), despite a massive increase in traffic over this period.

As highlighted in the Consultation Document, the UK is set to be one of only a few countries that will meet its international target of stabilising Carbon Dioxide emissions at 1990 levels by 2000 — again despite rising traffic levels throughout the period.

These impressive results have been achieved at a time of unparalleled improvements in living standards in the UK, whilst our road network expanded, car ownership levels at last began to reach levels close to those prevalent elsewhere in Europe, and car usage rose.

THE UK’s RECORD TO DATE ON CARBON DIOXIDE EMISSIONS REDUCTIONS IS SECOND TO NONE IN THE WORLD.

Nevertheless, the latest targets agreed are very challenging. Indeed, Wefa Energy (an energy consultancy) carried out a study, published in November 1998, which predicts that the measures agreed at Kyoto cannot be met in the time available, and that Carbon Dioxide emissions were actually likely to increase in developed countries. However, achievement is far more likely if our radical and innovative solutions, which run with the grain of economic progress, are adopted. Adherence to conventional "green" solutions which are, in truth, regressive and reactionary, is unlikely to achieve the desired result.

Cars — are they really the problem?

Latest figures show that Britain’s 23 million cars are responsible for emitting about 14% of the total UK emissions of Carbon Dioxide — approximately half of the amount emitted by the transport sector as a whole. It can therefore be said that the car is a relatively low contributor of so-called "green-house" gases. The bulk of the remainder is caused by electricity generation, home, office and industrial heating, and other industrial processes.

By contrast, half of all energy is used in buildings — with the domestic sector using one third of all energy in the UK. This is unnecessarily and unacceptably high.

Dealing with domestic usage of energy, the average person can expect to emit the following amounts of Carbon Dioxide per year:-

Driving a car 3.6 tonnes (source: Rover cars)

Heating/lighting an average home 9.6 tonnes (source: National Energy Foundation)

By comparison, a modern home , meeting current Building Regulation Standards, would emit just 5.1 tonnes. In other words, a family living in a well insulated home and driving a car over an average distance would be responsible for emitting almost one tonne less per year than a family in an average home, even if the latter had no car, and used no motorised transport of any description.

The National Energy Foundation says that the average British home scores just 4 out of 10, on a scale where 10 is ultra efficient, and 11 million homes are estimated to be below average. The NEF estimates that, if all homes were improved by just one rating point, then there would be a reduction in Carbon Dioxide emissions of 24 million tonnes.

THIS WOULD BE EQUIVALENT TO REMOVING AT LEAST 6.7 MILLION PRIVATE CARS FROM THE ROADS ALTOGETHER. This figure is actually unrealistically low, because many car journeys would have to be replaced by public transport journeys. We estimate that around 10 million cars would have to be removed from the roads entirely to achieve savings of this magnitude.

The Government’s own Building Research Establishment went further, and has identified cost-effective savings of 44 million tonnes of Carbon Dioxide in homes — one quarter of current energy usage in the domestic sector. This would be equivalent to removing over 12 MILLION cars from our roads (without any allowance being made for alternative journeys made by public transport). In practice, once an allowance is made for alternative journeys by public transport, we estimate that the would be equivalent to up to 18 million cars being removed from our roads. In practice, this would only be achievable by introducing war-time style rationing, and would be politically impossible to achieve.

According to a Report published by the International Energy Agency a few years ago, the UK ranks 10th out of 11 top industrial countries in terms of the energy required to heat domestic dwellings, with only Austria faring worse.

It is clear, then that the car is actually only a relatively small producer of Carbon Dioxide, and, further, that there is ample scope for savings of Carbon Dioxide emissions in the domestic sector. We tackle below some ways of ensuring that these improvements are made.

The benefit is that such savings could be achieved without loss of quality of life that reduced car usage would cause; they would actually bring economic benefits in stimulating demand for energy saving equipment, and would not hurt our resurgent car industry — truly a win-win situation.

 

Energy Supply Industry

The ABD believes that this is a key area in which savings can be sought.

Renewables

The ABD is pleased that Government is committed to expanding the production of electricity from renewable sources by 2010. The target of 10% of our electricity from these sources is, we believe, very modest and could easily be raised further.

Support for Severn Barrage Project

Of the renewable sources available in this country, by far the most promising is the proposed construction of a barrage across the estuary of the River Severn. Leading researcher, Professor Ian Fells of Newcastle University, and a strong supporter of the proposal, believes that 7% of the entire UK demand for electricity could be met from this source. We urge the Government to launch a full feasibility study into this project at an early date, and aim to pursue it as a Private Finance Initiative Project without delay. This would also provide a valuable and lasting asset to future generations — a very suitable millennium project.

The Government should also offer its support to other wave power generation schemes. In particular, the Applied Research and Technology scheme to supply electricity on the West coast of Scotland looks worthy of study, and possible support. The scheme has already received planning permission.

We support moves by the Government to encourage new and imaginative initiatives such as Combined Heat and Power generation systems, and believe that further incentives should be given to power generation companies to introduce such systems.

The Government needs to provide stricter guidelines to local authorities with regard to applications to build alternative energy infrastructure, such as wind turbines. Exceptions might be appropriate in National Parks, but elsewhere, there should normally be a presumption in favour of granting consent. It should be noted that we agree with a number of environmental groups over the need to prevent local authorities from putting barriers in the path of renewable energy sources.

If the Government is serious about cutting Carbon Dioxide emissions then measures such as those advocated here will need to be promoted, and quickly. In particular, we feel it is quite wrong for motorists to be expected to cut back on car usage when the Government is shying away from projects such as the Severn Barrage scheme, which has so much potential to secure energy supplies for the Twenty First Century.

Bio-Mass

This is a potentially interesting form of energy production, and is likely to enhance rather than detract from landscapes. It deserves the fullest support.

Nuclear

It has been widely acknowledged that nuclear power has played a leading role in cutting Carbon Dioxide emissions in the UK over the past decade. In France, Carbon Dioxide emissions have been halved through the widespread adoption of nuclear power for electricity generation. Many eminent scientists believe that nuclear power may have to be expanded if Carbon Dioxide emissions are to be cut, including Dr Peter Hodgson of Corpus Christi College, Oxford.

A wider and more honest debate is needed on this issue, with the stark choices faced. This is especially so as many of Britain’s nuclear plants are now ageing, and will be due for replacement in the coming two decades.

With real energy prices now lower in real terms than they were prior to the 1973 fuel crisis, funding could easily be raised by imposing a greater levy on fossil fuel burning, which would have the double effect of encouraging greater savings by consumers, whilst providing an income stream for renewable energy sources.

Conventional Fossil Fuels

We express surprise that the Government has sought to give special protection to the UK’s coal generation business, as this is universally recognised as one of the most polluting forms of power generation. The ABD urges the Government to end the moratorium on the construction of new and cleaner gas fired production capacity. It is widely acknowledged that much of the UK’s success in stabilising Carbon Dioxide emissions in recent years — as well as cutting toxic emissions responsible for acid rain — have been achieved by the move to gas fired power generation.

 

The Car / Other Transport:

The Car: Cutting emissions of Carbon Dioxide

Road Maintenance

We believe that the single most effective way of improving fuel efficiency would be to invest in proper maintenance of our road system. The state of Britain’s roads has now declined to near Third World standards, and whilst manufacturers develop tyres with low rolling resistance which reduce fuel consumption, uneven surfaces and potholes ensure that all benefit is lost. By achieving high quality smooth roads, fuel savings of around 5% would be achievable. Reductions in Carbon Dioxide emissions from vehicles would be commensurate. This standard of road was common in the UK until the mid 1970s, and is the norm across most of Europe. Such a policy would have a secondary benefit of reducing road casualties. The safety benefits would naturally be enjoyed most by the most vulnerable road users such as cyclists. Figures show that 8,798 people suffer injuries in one year as a result of poor maintenance of the road network, of which 1,344 were directly related to surface defects.

The Government already collects £30 billion from motorists, and spends only £6 billion on transport. The whole economy, as well as individual drivers and businesses suffer the effects of the inadequate and badly maintained road system which has resulted from political expedience and fiscal short-termism. We would like to see all income received from the Road Fund Licence ring fenced for road building and — above all — maintenance.

We express concern at the types of "traffic calming" measures adopted in many UK towns and cities, involving speed humps and other devices which cause vehicles to slow down at repeated intervals thus raising fuel consumption (and thus emissions of Carbon Dioxide), noise levels and also causing the emission of more toxic pollution t.

Vehicle Fuel Efficiency

We support measures agreed at EU level to increase the fuel efficiency of new vehicles. We believe that the European motor industry will be spurred into producing innovative cars that combine modern standards of comfort and safety, but which will run more efficiently.

We also believe that the government should show its commitment to the future of private transport by encouraging investment by British based motor manufacturers in alternative non-fossil based fuels for the cars of the mid 21st Century. In view of the international nature of modern car making, this would almost certainly be best achieved at EU level.

Speed Limit Review

We completely reject the suggestion that strict enforcement of motorway and other non-urban speed limits should be used as a means of cutting Carbon Dioxide emissions. We say this for four reasons:-

 

  1. Speed limits should be set and enforced for safety reasons ONLY. If speed limits are perceived by the public as being used as a tool of other social policies they will become discredited.
  2. Such a move would discourage manufacturers from working on improving fuel efficiency for high speed cruising, such as six speed gear boxes. Generally, emissions of all types are at a low level when cars are travelling at constant moderately high speeds typical on UK motorways.
  3. We believe that there could paradoxically be an increase in road casualties, as the danger of inattention on long motorway journeys would be increased. There is already some evidence of this from long distance truck drivers, driving vehicles limited to 90 Kph, and from the US where single vehicle accidents are commonplace on featureless Interstate highways as a result of drivers failing to attend to the road, or even falling asleep at the wheel.
  4. If the speed differential between motorways and other roads is reduced there is a danger of greater diversion onto less suitable — and less fuel efficient — routes.

Road Tolling and Fuel Taxation

We reject all forms of urban and motorway road charging as a means of cutting emission levels. These are likely to be socially divisive — those who can afford to do so will continue to drive and enjoy congestion free roads, especially those on Company expense accounts, whilst the less off will be forced to use other, possibly less appropriate means of travel. These charges would also be an inefficient means of raising revenue with great difficulties in terms of calculation, collection, and enforcement, and require expensive and intrusive technology. By contrast, fuel duty costs nothing extra to collect and meets relatively low resistance. Fuel duty encourages motorists to chose more economical vehicles, whereas any tolling system would not do so.

WE BELIEVE IN GENERAL THAT MOTORING COSTS IN THE UK — ALREADY THE HIGHEST IN EUROPE — ARE NOW HIGH ENOUGH AND SHOULD NOT BE INCREASED FURTHER, WHETHER BY TOLLING OR OTHERWISE.

Fuel duty increases also have their limit. UK petrol prices are now the highest in the EU, and are beginning to cause complaints by drivers who feel that they are being unjustly penalised. Government policy has also caused a growing fuel smuggling business particularly in Northern Ireland, with the IRA believed to be involved. This kind of activity is likely to grow if taxes continue to rise.

Town and Country Planning

We express great concern about the draconian town and country planning regime which is progressively being introduced across the UK without real regard for local needs and preferences across communities — large and small — throughout the country. Attempts to force all new development into inner-city areas is likely to increase rather than reduce congestion.

Of particular concern to us, and to much of the property industry too, are the unrealistically low car parking ratios that many local authorities are enforcing on new developments. It is no exaggeration to say that we are alarmed by proposals that would see car parking provision at new and refurbished developments cut by between 50% and 80% from their already low level. Many new developments would simply not be viable, as modern consumers will simply not visit premises — retail, leisure etc. — if there is not sufficient space to park. This is likely to cause an overall fall in activity in the construction sector, and damage to the economy that the UK can ill afford.

In fact, Government town and country planning policies already in place to restrict car usage are known to be having a detrimental effect on economic development and growth. The McKinsey Global institute report "Driving Productivity and growth in the UK", published in October 1998 stated that UK growth rates were being stifled to the tune of 1.5% per annum, with the consequent knock-on effect on employment and living standards.

We believe that all local authorities should be provided with guidelines that set out satisfactory minimum parking standards but they should free to increase those standards in accordance with local needs and the wishes of local voters. A policy that may be appropriate for a major city like Manchester is most unlikely to make any sense in, say, Shrewsbury. Over time, some towns are likely to be able to show greater economic success than others and their practices may well then be copied elsewhere.

Traffic Signals and Street Lighting

Significant energy savings could be achieved by ensuring that traffic signals and street lighting use the latest in energy saving technology. We believe that universal adoption of Gallium Nitride light bulbs for traffic signals, for example, would lead to a substantial saving of power usage in this sector.

Public Transport

The ABD is not anti public transport. Indeed, we believe that significant investment is needed in our poor and overburdened public transport system to achieve a network that is genuinely attractive to car owners. The current system delivers one of the worst services in Europe, and at the highest fares in Europe. It is beyond the scope of this report to cover this subject in detail, but we believe that some of the massive subsidy provided to the Exchequer by motorists could be used for the purpose of improving services especially in urban areas, especially where there is backing from private investors.

Schemes worthy of support include the proposed inter urban Central Railways scheme which will allow both freight and passengers to travel from Liverpool to Sheffield, to London to Lille by rail. By being constructed to the Continental loading gauge, lorries could ride "piggy-back", thus providing a labour saving inter-modal transport facility which would attract freight and passengers off the roads.

In urban areas, greater investment is needed in tram and underground systems, and, particularly Park and Ride schemes that are essential to any truly integrated transport system. We particularly commend the success of the Parkway Train Stations that facilitate an easy change to rail travel for those parts of journeys that are best covered by that method; and the Manchester tram network that has attracted many former car commuters without the need for draconian anti car measures.

 

Domestic/Business

Home Energy Prices

We believe that the Government has needlessly tied its hands on energy taxation, and it seems hard to justify increasing the 400% tax on petrol whilst at the same time cutting the VAT on domestic fuel to just 5%. This sends a mixed message to consumers, and with domestic energy prices at an all time low and still falling there seems little incentive or reason for consumers to take action to cut energy consumption in the home. One must question whether the Government is serious about emissions reductions in these circumstances.

The ABD urges the Government to increase VAT on domestic fuel to 17.5% at the earliest opportunity. The current discounted tax rate available for energy consumed in the home artificially distorts demand by making the burning of fossil fuels cheap. It cannot be right that tax on home energy is set at a lower rate than almost any other goods or services.

The Government has raised understandable concerns about plight of the poor and the elderly when considering the cost of domestic energy. Investment in home insulation will not only make their homes more efficient, but will in practice also make them warmer and more comfortable.

Further though, we believe that the Government should ensure that low energy costs are better targeted at those who need help. In practice, the largest users of energy are actually the better off. We suggest that the following scheme is explored with power companies:-

1. Standing Charges for electricity and gas should be abolished; and 2. The unit price per Kw or m3 should be raised to compensate for the loss of income from the abolition of standing charges. 3. The tax position of domestic energy can then be reviewed

By making price totally responsive to consumption, an incentive is created to save energy. If properly implemented, this scheme would actually leave many elderly people and poorer households with lower energy bills that they pay at present, but remove the inbuilt bias that makes energy progressively cheaper as more is used.

Home Energy Ratings

The ABD believes that the Government’s proposed scheme to give every home in the country a Home Energy rating may assist in making house purchasers more aware of energy consumption in the home. We believe that Surveyors could be required to include a Home Energy rating when preparing survey reports on both new and used properties.

We believe that this could be extended to all residential Landlords (including Local Authorities and Housing Associations), as this will build pressure into the system to improve insulation standards generally.

A further tightening of Building Regulations for new dwellings would be beneficial. We also believe that there will have to be wider availability of grants for energy efficiency improvements, and that VAT should be cut from insulation materials, double glazing and the like.

Local authorities can play their part, and in particular, Listing of Buildings should not be used as a tool by Local Authorities to prevent improvements to energy efficiency. Double glazing in draught free frames are standard throughout Europe but owners of listed buildings in the UK cannot legally fit them without obtaining permission. This is always slow and expensive and many local authorities simply refuse to give consent. Obviously, the should be framed in suitable material, such as timber and should faithfully reproduce the original design where appropriate.

Home Appliances

The ABD supports the exhibition of energy ratings on all electric appliances. We express concern however at the government’s push towards Digital TV. TV stations should be encouraged to maintain analogue broadcasts indefinitely, and to ensure that all leading stations continue to be available in this format. Estimates suggest that a wholesale changeover to Digital TV would require an entire extra power station to provide the energy.

Until energy efficiency levels at least match those available on analogue systems, no further encouragement should be given to the establishment of Digital networks. Whilst not wishing to discourage those who wish to obtain this service, there seems equally little reason to encourage others to adopt it.

Lighting

Further encouragement is needed to adopt the initially more expensive low energy light bulbs.

Office Equipment

With office equipment providing the fastest rate of growth of energy usage in this country, there is scope for considerable saving. Obviously, the technological revolution in the office will continue, but office equipment needs to be made more energy efficient. This could be achieved both by reducing the operational requirements for electricity for when machinery is in use and by changing the standby requirements for many machines.

It is beyond the scope of this response to provide an exhaustive list of energy saving measures which would provide cost-effective savings, but a requirement that all future VDUs meet Energy Star standard would allow significant savings. Given the speed at which these machines are generally replaced, the savings would work their begin to take effect very rapidly and, if introduced now, virtually all VDUs in use by the target date of 2010 would be of the new variety. This is, of course, just one example.

These changes can be brought about both by working with office machine manufacturers (preferably on an EU or wider international basis) and also with the end user businesses.

Persuading home owners to invest in fuel saving measures

We believe that there should be a campaign of public education highlighting both the need and scope for energy saving in the home — and stressing that Carbon Dioxide emissions from the home are THE major source in the UK. This should be backed up by:- 1. Introduction of MIRAS relief on home loans taken out to finance home insulation or other energy efficiency programmes in the home (loft and cavity wall insulation, double or triple glazing, efficient boilers for Central Heating systems); and 2. Abolition or reduction of VAT for EVERYBODY on the purchase of energy saving products, insulation materials and on the cost of building works which improve the energy rating of a home — such as installation of loft and cavity wall insulation, double or triple glazing, efficient boilers for Central Heating systems

 

Forestry

The ABD gives the fullest support to programmes which seek to accelerate the reforestation of Britain, and urge that faster progress is made than envisaged in the Consultation Document. In particular it may be possible to obtain industrial sponsorship for such projects. Internationally, we understand that both Toyota and Peugeot — both of whom manufacture cars in the UK — are involved in such schemes, as are Tesco. Motorists can assist in improving the environment by supporting such schemes. Indeed, if pursued on an international scale, it would be feasible to make car usage largely Carbon neutral. Most motorists would gladly contribute to such schemes.

 
Global warming
- is it actually caused by "greenhouse gases"?

We remained unconvinced that warming of the planet is being caused by man made emissions of so-called green-house gases. Over 95% of the world’s Carbon Dioxide emissions arise as a direct result of the respiratory processes of the animal species (including humans) on the planet. Further, not only is water vapour twice as potent mole for mole as CO2 as a global warming gas, but also its atmospheric concentration is (a) substantially higher, (b) subject to much greater variation than is CO2s and (c) its influence on global climate appears not to have been taken into account in the IPCCs Global Circulation Model.

Indeed, latest evidence is pointing toward the variation in intensity of sunspot activity — and consequently in the intensity of the solar wind — varying the extent to which the Earth is shielded from cloud-seeding cosmic rays. The greater the intensity of the solar wind, the lower the terrestrial incidence of cosmic rays, the less clouds are formed and the higher are global temperatures. When sunspot activity declines, cloud formation is favoured and global temperature drops. This mechanism explains the very high (statistically significant) correlation over time between levels of sunspot activity and global temperatures. Studies by renowned climatologists Friis- Christiansen and Lassen published in 1995 have shown that nearly 85% of the variation in global temperatures between the late 16th Century and the present day can be accounted for by variations in the length of the solar cycle without invoking any anthropogenic radiative forcing (global warming) effects.

If the small proportions of Man-made "global warming" gases are in any way implicated in climate determination, it is very much as exceedingly weak (virtually negligible) secondary factors. Given that the solubility of CO2 in the Earths oceans decreases with increasing temperature, its atmospheric concentration is thus actually determined by global temperatures, rather than vice versa.

The preceding mechanism of climate determination is endorsed by Dr.Piers Corbyn of Weather Action. It is also supported by the substantial number of scientists affiliated to the European Science & Environment Forum; and by work in this area carried out by the Danish climatologists Svensmark & Friis-Christensen. The work is reported in Svensmark, H. and E. Friis-Christensen, Variation of cosmic ray flux and global cloud coverage — a missing link in solar-climate relationships, J. Atmos. Sol-Terr. Phys., 59, 1225-1232 (1997). Further experimental work by the latter at the CERN Particle Physics facility near Geneva seems certain to establish solar factors as the primary global climate determinants.

We therefore continue to have serious reservations about the validity of the scientific evidence supporting the theory, and believe that the Government should support more research into other theories offering possible explanation about climate change.

 

Conclusions

As stated in the Introduction to this response, we remain of the view that the Government’s targets can be achieved without restricting car use, and it must surely make sense to try to do this with the minimum disruption to people’s lives.

The construction industry, as well as the motor industry, are concerned, and with a recession likely to affect the UK shortly, the country simply cannot afford the luxury of anti car politics.

We strongly urge the Government to consider the matters contained in this report with a view to meeting the UK’s international commitments without paying an unacceptable price in terms of jobs, freedom, and quality of life.

We would welcome further involvement in this and other consultation processes.

This response may be published, or quoted.


Review this document :
Introduction | Response | Energy Supply | Car/Transport | Domestic/Business | Global Warming


Top  ABD Home Page     Government Policy Page    Join    Contact the ABD