Greener Transport Solutions has called on the Chancellor to introduce a ‘universal carbon allowance’ to help households cope with the cost-of-living crisis and accelerate the transition to net zero.
The not-for-profit cites the war in Ukraine means that oil and gas prices have risen sharply, whilst food prices have hit record highs, while last week the cost of filling up an average family car with petrol hit £100 for the first time and inflation is expected to reach 10% later this year – and as high as 14% for poorer households.
On 26th May the Chancellor announced a £21 billion package to help households with their energy bills. However, Greener Transport Solutions says further measures are likely to be needed by the autumn and has asked how the Chancellor will ensure the right level of targeted support for those who most need it whilst avoiding inflationary pressures in the economy.
Its answer is to urge the Chancellor to develop a strategy to tackle the cost-of-living crisis that will accelerate the transition to net zero and protect our energy security. Namely, he should introduce a universal carbon allowance for every individual in the UK funded by putting a carbon price on everything we consume.
This would be a very progressive measure, the organisation claims. Individuals on higher incomes would pay more in carbon tax through all the goods and services they buy, whilst receiving the same fixed allowance as those on lower incomes. According to the Treasury’s Net Zero Review, higher income households consume three times more carbon than lower income households.
The IPCC has warned “now or never” if world is to avoid climate disaster. To avoid overshooting 1.5C global emissions must peak before 2025 and fall by 43% by 2030. Such rapid emissions reduction is possible but only if every sector of the economy is targeted. Reducing energy demand across all sectors could deliver a 40-70 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
Greener Transport Solutions has published a report on its ‘Pathways to Net Zero’ roundtable discussion series investigating how to decarbonise transport.
The key conclusion is that we are not seeing anywhere near the scale of change needed to achieve our net zero targets for transport. Lack of leadership and lack of joined-up thinking undermines net zero ambitions. Spending is skewed towards road building and unsustainable transport policies. We are still building car dependent housing developments. It says urgent focus is needed on traffic reduction.
Claire Haigh, Founder & CEO of Greener Transport Solutions, said: “The transport sector on its own cannot achieve net zero. It’s clear that we urgently need a new approach. We need a solution for the whole economy.
“The current crises we face all demonstrate that we must break our dependency on fossil fuels. If we are to wean ourselves off fossil fuels, we must price properly for carbon. This will generate the revenue needed to tackle the cost-of-living crisis.
“Record high fuel and energy prices are a game-changer. We urge the Chancellor to seize the opportunity to tackle the cost-of-living crisis, shore up our energy security and accelerate the transition to net zero at the same time.”