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World Road planners 'can ignore climate change'

04:00  23 july  2021
04:00  23 july  2021 Source:   bbc.com

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Planners can effectively ignore climate change when they’re deciding whether to grant permission for new road schemes, environmentalists have said. Transport secretary Grant Shapps has promised a review of £27bn highways policy which will be completed within two years. But in the meantime, planners can use existing guidelines. Campaigners say these ignore the cumulative effects of major road projects. They say Mr Shapps should be blocking new schemes until a new climate -friendly policy is developed.

Climate change remains a polarizing topic in the nation’s capital, and FEMA is caught in the middle. A recent report from the Government Accountability Office warned that rising sea levels and heavier downpours fueled by global warming could increase flooding costs in coastal communities by billion per year by “There are plenty of people who want to debate the vocabulary” around climate change , said Roy E. Wright, FEMA’s deputy associate administrator for insurance and mitigation. “But Congress’ instruction was for us to attend ourselves to future risks and reduce the costs of future disasters.

Planners can effectively ignore climate change when they’re deciding whether to grant permission for new road schemes, environmentalists have said.

a sign on the side of a road © Getty Images

Transport secretary Grant Shapps has promised a review of £27bn highways policy which will be completed within two years.

But in the meantime, planners can use existing guidelines.

Campaigners say these ignore the cumulative effects of major road projects.

They say Mr Shapps should be blocking new schemes until a new climate-friendly policy is developed.

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Many scientists say no new infrastructure should be built unless it is low-carbon.

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People cannot ignore climate change as the climate always has been and always be changing , irrespectably what we humans do. The problem is that so many people mix Pollution with climate change . They are two different things. Your progeny will be less likely to reproduce and your genetics and cultural heritage will be lost since the central planners will emphasize population control as the solution to all the world’s problems. (Ironically, the new immigrants won’t buy it.) Central planning , a command and control economy, and communism will be implemented to solve the resulting homeless

Climate change already poses one of the most significant threats to the nation’s infrastructure, according to dozens of scientific and engineering studies, including several prepared by the federal government. A 2017 report by the Environmental Protection Agency concluded that, through the end of the An academic colleague of Mr. Martinich’s, who has worked with him on several climate reports, including the E.P.A. study published last year, described in practical terms what the findings mean for federal infrastructure planners . “Say you’re going to build a new road in Denver that’s designed to

The debate has been raised because government policies for infrastructure were devised before ministers committed to virtually abolishing carbon emissions for the whole UK economy.

The policy debate is still catching up.

Currently guidance to planners states: “Any increase in carbon emissions is not a reason to refuse development consent, unless the increase in carbon emissions resulting from the proposed scheme are so significant that it would have a material impact on the ability of government to meet its carbon reduction targets.”

Campaigners say the government must take account of the cumulative climate effect of its entire roads programme – not just of individual schemes.

They have been chivvying Mr Shapps for 18 months to update the roads strategy to combat the climate crisis.

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This isn’t the first time politicians have dabbled in the idea of personal carbon allowances. The British politician David Miliband raised the idea in 2006, while he was the UK’s environment secretary, citing the contribution citizens could make to tackling climate change . We have people spending their entire lives advertising and promoting carbon-intensive ways of eating, living, travelling. Now we’re supposed to build this huge trading scheme to force people to ignore this – Angela Raffle. Despite organising her own carbon reduction group, Raffle is deeply sceptical of calls for a government-led

How is climate change measured over time? Earth-orbiting satellites, remote meteorological stations, and ocean buoys are used to monitor present-day weather and climate , but it’s paleoclimatology data from natural sources like ice cores, tree rings, corals, and ocean and lake sediments that have enabled scientists to extend the earth’s climatic records back millions of years. Activities like agriculture and road construction can change the reflectivity of the earth’s surface, leading to local warming or cooling, too.

He has now promised to review it – but not for up to two years.

Chris Todd, from Transport Action Network, said, "As our roads melt and places around the world face record temperatures and floods, the words ‘climate emergency’ appear to have no meaning within the Department for Transport.

“Instead, all we seem to get are delay, delay and yet more delay. Having now finally accepted the inevitable, Mr Shapps is still fiddling while the planet burns.”

Mr Todd said the test for carbon in the guidelines was "utterly ridiculous".

"A road scheme's emissions, however large, are never going to be significant compared to a five year carbon budget for the whole of the UK," he said. "It's high time the government corrected this ludicrous state of affairs."

a person standing in front of a computer: AA president Edmund King has called for better rural broadband © AFP AA president Edmund King has called for better rural broadband

However, Edmund King, AA president, said that zero emission cars will still need roads to drive on.

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"These changes will affect water supply, physical infrastructure, transport, ecosystem goods and services, energy provision and industrial production," they wrote. "Local economies will be disrupted and populations will be stripped of their assets and livelihoods." A recent assessment highlighted a The report called on local urban planners to develop a vision for future development that considered climate change 's impact on the local area. It said that it was necessary to include mitigation measures (reducing energy demand and emissions) as well as adaptation plans , such as improving flood

to mitigate and manage climate change in the absence of more democratic. international climate - change policy-making processes. packed lecture halls and theatres across the US and abroad (Mingle, 2013). McKibben and his team hit the road to build a movement strong enough to. change the ‘terrifying math’ of the climate crisis; the ‘Do the Math Tour’ was a. massive success, with sold out shows in every corner of the US and the world.

“So while it is correct to review the roads programme and especially the expansion of smart motorways, it is naïve to think we wouldn’t need to sort out the bottlenecks and dangerous hotspots.”

Mr King, though, also wants a major government investment in rural broadband to reduce the need for travel.

And Mr Shapps himself says he wants to get people out of their cars to reduce emissions and improve health.

A government spokesman said that the Department for Transport and Highways England have both published "ambitious plans to get to net zero highways".

"This will see the UK rapidly cut carbon from road construction, maintenance and operations, and support the transition to zero emission vehicles - putting roads at the heart of the low carbon economy," a spokesperson said.

Among the schemes pending approval is the Lower Thames Crossing – a massive project that campaigners complain would produce over 5 million tonnes of carbon emissions.

Other major schemes include:

  • A428 Black Cat to Caxton Gibbet
  • A66 Northern Trans-Pennine
  • A417
  • A27 Arundel Bypass
  • A5036 Port of Liverpool
  • A57 Link Roads
  • A12 Chelmsford to A120 Widening Scheme
  • Four A47 schemes in Cambridgeshire and Norfolk

The campaigners also complain that smart motorways, which allow vehicles to run on the hard shoulder, are treated as permitted development without the need for planning permission or any assessment of carbon impacts.

Emissions come from the creation of the road-building materials such as cement, as well as from petrol and diesel cars and lorries that will be using new road space.

Only last week Mr Shapps told holidaymakers they could carry on flying because technology would solve emissions from aviation.

This flew in the face of a recommendation from the Climate Change Committee which says ministers must dampen the projected increase in demand for flying – as well as seeking technology solutions.

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This is interesting!