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Limiting flying and driving: The key to achieving net zero?


The second event in the Climate Action Ilkley (CAI) series ‘Your World, Your Vote’ takes place on Wednesday 20 March and will cover a potentially highly controversial topic: ‘To meet Net Zero do we need policies to limit flying and driving?’


The free public event entitled ‘Your Lives in Their Hands’ will be at the Clarke Foley Community Hub in Ilkley at 7.30pm and the main speaker will be Dr Noel Cass, University of Leeds.


Steve Peel of CAI says: “Tackling climate change will require changes in our lifestyles – hence the headline title of this event. Governments in the UK and around the world have avoided imposing or even incentivising such changes which they see as vote-losers. But unless they do, the path to net zero will become rapidly untenable.


“Transport is a big issue – 2023 in Ilkley showed what strong opinions it can generate. But leaving aside road safety, transport is a huge problem for climate change. It generates 26% of UK greenhouse gas emissions and this % is rising. This does not include emissions from our international flights – these more than tripled between 1990 and 2019, only falling due to Covid19. This is a major topic in this election year and Climate Action Ilkley is aiming to help citizens judge the choices which are, or should be, on offer.”


The main speaker Noel Cass is from the Institute for Transport Studies at University of Leeds and has studied people's understanding of climate change and their lifestyles, particularly in relation to flying, driving and other travel choices. He has found that when people fully understand the impact of their choices they could be content to change them, especially if government shifted investment priorities, for example towards public transport and active travel. This could provide more frequent, reliable and affordable bus and train journeys. It could also increase the proportion of road space available for cycling and reduce that for cars. Getting us to shift away from cars and planes might also require disincentives.  Examples might include a ban on short flights where a train could be used (already in place in France), a tax on frequent flyers, a levy for having only one person/vehicle in cities or charging companies for private car parking spaces.


Tickets are free and available on Eventbrite www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/your-lives-in-their-hands-tickets-850652844557  CAI say it will be interactive with plenty of time for questions and there will be other specialists available for a panel discussion.


Other events planned in the CAI series ‘Your World, Your Vote’ are on Tuesday 16 April on renewable energy, fossil fuels and nuclear energy with Prof Peter Taylor and Thursday 9 May on the Climate Majority Project with Rupert Read. They’re open to anyone interested to talk about solutions to our climate and ecological emergencies. Speakers, expert in their fields, will explain the current situation, how it came about, what government policies are currently in place and what needs to change in order to meet future climate and sustainability targets.

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