Tuesday, January 03, 2023

If you oppose climate change, join the 50/60 campaign

It is hard, even for us activists, to face up to the enormity of what our fossil fuels are doing to Earth's climate. There are thousands of things that we need to do, starting with kicking this worthless, incompetent and corrupt bunch of "Conservative" free market fundamentalists out of office, but here is one thing that we can all do, right now (that is, those of us who still drive cars):

knock 10mph off our top speed.

As a nation we face a challenging task to reduce our impact on the planet’s energy system. The targets of 50% reduction of greenhouse gases on 1990 levels by 2025, and net zero by 2050 are not going to be easy to achieve, and we activists have a responsibility to take a campaigning lead.

The campaign needs to be high profile and simple, of low cost and beneficial in its side effects. 

It needs to involve as many people as possible, to signify that we all have to play our part in avoiding this serious global problem.

It helps if participating in the campaign reduces our fuel bills at this time of economic hardship.

It also helps if it takes a bit of pressure off the NHS.

A national speed limit of 50mph, stretched to 60mph on motorways, meets these criteria.

Road transport produces about 15% of total CO2 emissions. A car travelling at 60mph max can save 10% of its fuel.

Here are nine other benefits:

  1. it would lead to lower fuel bills for motorists
  2. it would lead to fewer, and less severe, motor vehicle accidents
  3. this would lead to reduced demand for new vehicles, and so save CO2 emissions from motor manufacture
  4. it would lead to fewer, and less severe injuries and deaths on the road
  5. this would lead to a reduced burden on our struggling NHS
  6. driving at lower speeds is a more relaxing and pleasant experience
  7. it would lead to rail travel being more competitive
  8. we will be able to stress that this would only be a first step in many others to get to grips with the challenge of man-made climate change.
  9. above all, it would deliver a message to everyone that man-made climate change is a real and serious problem for everyone on the planet, both now and even more in coming years

Lower national speed limits have been used in the past at the time of energy crises, and climate change is nothing if not a massive, long-term energy crisis.

It can be enforced by speed cameras, and increased fuel consumption at speed can be added to the curriculum of Speed Awareness courses.

Naturally, there will be objections from the fossil fuel lobby, some motorists and the libertarians, but these groups will object to any and all measures to meet our climate commitments, and so their protestations can be viewed as routine, and safely set aside. Indeed, their protests can be used as a vehicle to expose the role of libertarians and neo-liberals in delaying all climate action.

The beauty of this measure is that it is a money saving, CO2 saving, beneficial, nationwide, energy saving measure that is high profile, a sign of the many other beneficial changes that we are about to bring about.

Not only that, but Green activists do not have to wait for Government to act. We can produce a 60/55 sticker in a green circle to put on our cars as we drive (and yes, I know that we ought not to drive at all, but few of us are perfect).

I hope that everyone that reads this will give sympathetic consideration to this idea

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