Lynn Sloman and Lisa Hopkinson
With contributions from Phil Goodwin, Jillian Anable, Sally Cairns and Ian Taylor
July 2020

Headline findingsIn terms of carbon emissions, transport is the worst-performing sector of the economy. Whereas emissions in all other sectors have fallen, emissions from transport are still going up.The Department for Transport is developing a decarbonisation plan for the transport sector, and has stated that the forecast rate of carbon reduction from transport is much slower than is needed.

The Climate Change Act 2008 now commits the UK to reduce net carbon emissions to zero by 2050, and tofive-yearly carbon budgets between now and then. The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has already shown that transport is not even on track to comply with existing carbon budgets (set when the target was to reduce emissions by 80% by 2050), let alone net-zero ones. 

However, in terms of impact on the climate, what matters is not so much the end date, as the total amount of COthat is emitted between now and then. Under the Paris Climate Agreement, the UK is committed to restricting the increase in global average temperatures to well below 2°C and preferably below 1.5°C.For this,cuttingcarbon emissions over the next decadewill be crucial.