Stop selling SUVs - UK Climate Assembly
10th September 2020
The UK Climate Assembly published its report today. Among the recommendations is to quickly stop selling SUVs (a policy supported by 86% of members).
The Climate Assembly
The UK Climate Assembly was set up by six Parliamentary Select Committees. It was made up of 108 people from all walks of life, and their task was to consider how best to implement Parliament's decision to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050. They were given evidence from experts on the ways this can be achieved, meeting six times from January to mid-May 2020 (the last three times online).
In their opening statement, the Climate Assembly members stressed:
- The need for education and information about climate change
- The fact that tackling climate change will bring many advantages
- That they strongly support measures that have a positive impact on biodiversity and wildlife
- The need for clear leadership from government and a joined-up approach across society
How we travel on land
Chapter 3 deals with 'How we travel on land'. Climate Assembly members didn't want to see a great deal less car use, but a reduction of 2-5% per decade. They preferred to put an emphasis on a shift to electric vehicles and improved public transport.
These are some of the policies they recommended, with the percentage of members in favour of each:
- Government investment in low carbon buses and trains (91%), bringing public transport back under government control (75%), and making it cheaper (83%)
- Quickly stop selling the most polluting vehicles like SUVs (86%), and grants for people to buy low carbon cars (74%)
- Investing in cycling and scootering facilities (70%)
- Localisation (travelling less) (72%)
Assembly members stressed that solutions must be accessible and affordable to all sections of society. They also said it was vital to educate and inform, to get a wider public understanding of the need for change and the co-benefits; and they wanted cross-party support for policies, so they weren't changed by an incoming government.
Changing the cars we drive was a more popular option with Assembly members than reducing the amount we travel.
SUVs and global heating
SUVs have increased in popularity around the world. In the UK, they make up 40% of new vehicle purchases. Average CO2 emissions from new cars decreased each year for 20 years up to 2016; since 2017, they have been going back up again, largely due to people buying SUVs (HM Treasury VED consultation, paragraph 1.6)