Executive Summary… 2 1. Introduction… 3 2.
Progress… 4 2. 1 Introduction… 4 2. 2 Objectives… 4 2.
3 Conclusion… 6 3. Pearce’s Transition Model… 5 3. 1 Policy… 6 3.
2 Economy… 8 3. 3 Society… 10 4. 3 Discourse…
11 4. Conclusions… 12 5. Bibliography…
13 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY More than 10 years ago Pearce argued that the UK government was failing because sustainable development was not even at the first of the three stages of his transition model (from very weak to strong sustainability).
Given that sustainable development is such a wide area, this Report focuses on UK transport. The Report will look at where transport at what stage transport is regarding the transition model. The Background Section provides an overview of Pearce’s key reasons why in 1993 sustainable development was failing in the UK. The Progress to Date Section discusses the UK path to a 60% reduction in its carbon dioxide emissions by 2050#. The Transition Model Section looks at where the Labour Government is positioned today in terms of Transport.
The Policy Section details the way in which the Government has steadily moved from Departmental integration into disintegration. The Economic Section asks why transport is expanding at the expense of the environment, when decoupling economic growth from sustainability is at the heart of the Government’s policies. The Society Section uncovers a certain amount of complacency both from the media and the public in relation to transport and asks why. The Discourse Section surprisingly concludes that a lot of activity is happening with large companies and NGOs regarding corporate social responsibility.
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The Report concludes that regardless of UK Government’s key objective (to put the UK on a path to a 60% reduction in its carbon dioxide emissions by 2050 through policies), at ground level the UK transport system seems to be regressing rather than progressing, and is still very much at the stage 1 of the transition model, regardless of institutional change. 1. INTRODUCTION Pearce believed that sustainable development was an ideology such as justice or freedom – that might never be attainable but would always be worth fighting for (199: 183).
Pearce believed that UK Government institutions failed to coordinate public policies in ways which were compatible with all but weakest forms of sustainable development. Pearce argued that the UK Government understood many of the principles of sustainable development such as integration, coordination, openness, target setting and strategic reporting, but that in 1993, the Government greening machine was ‘half-hearted’ and was a response to the green enthusiasm trend of the time.
Pearce stated that the political challenge was that sustainable development should not be seen to build bridges between environmentalists and developers as it sounded too comforting and lulled a false sense of security. He argued that economic patterns of production in the West (and many other parts of the world) thrived on creating spill-overs such as pollution and as such the economic pattern did nothing but create another false sense of security. Pearce stated that the institutional challenge is that sustainable development must encompass every section of society and every role that we play in society. That sustainable development will not happen on its own, and that it cannot be imposed from the ‘top down’ by an authoritarian Government, but instead the Government must have a vision (even if hazy) to show some direction. Pearce believed that the Government in order to do this, the institution needed to change, and that change meant that sustainable development be de-coupled from the economy and that environmental issues be at the heart of the institution. Given that sustainable development is such a wide area, this Report focuses on UK transport.
... urge that there is a clear link between climate change and sustainable development,’ “Environment and development are not separate challenges, they are linked. These ... using theory, practice and examples, and whether climate change is its biggest challenge. Sustainable development has long been difficult to define as it ...
The Report will look at where transport is in terms of institutional change and at what stage transport is regarding the transition model. 2. PROGRESS TO DATE 2. 1 INTRODUCTION The idea of sustainable development was first floated in the 1960 s when deforestation, freshwater contamination, overgrazing and over-fishing made scientists realized there was a limit to what the earth could cope with.
It was not until the late 1980 s when Norway Prime Minister and chairman of the UN World Commission on Environment and Development Gro Harlem Brundtland launched the book Our Common Future, that politicians took the issue seriously. The diagram below shows that sustainable development is now a recurring event and as such strategies have emerged from these events. Year Key Event Outcome 1987 Brundtland Report Our Common Future Strategy 1992 Rio Summit Agenda 21 Strategy 1997 Kyoto Summit Renewable Energy Strategy 2002 WSSD Improvements in Quality of Life Strategy Since 1970, any polluting emissions (such as sulphur dioxide, ozone-depleting gases, NOx and carbon monoxide) have been substantially cut in the UK (although a point to note is that some are creeping up).
Resource consumption is improving – a recent comparison of EU countries rated the UK as one of the top five in terms of resource efficiency. According to the Redefining Prosperity Report (2002) this is not due the environment being a the heart of institutional change, but the most likely reason is the move from manufacturing to service. 2.
2 OBJECTIVE The objective of this section is to show that the Government is failing to coordinate policies in a ways that are all but compatible with the weakest forms of sustainable development. The UK Government’s key objective is to put the UK on a path to a 60% reduction in its carbon dioxide emissions by 2050 through policies to raise the energy efficiency of products and buildings and increasing renewable energy from sources such as wind farms, water, solar power, nuclear power and geothermal energy (Redefining Prosperity Report, 2002).
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In March 2003, the UK Government published the Energy White Paper with the aim that energy, the environment and economic growth are properly and ‘sustainably’ integrated as by 2006 the UK will be importing energy and by 2010 importing oil (BBC, Climate Change, 2003).
2. 3. CONCLUSION By ratifying the Kyoto Protocol, the UK government is legally bound to reduce its emissions of greenhouse gases from 1990 levels.
The White Paper put forward plans to reduce the UK’s over-dependence on imported energy by developing renewable energy in the UK (BBC, Climate Change, 2003).
The critics say (BBC, Climate Change, 2003) that the White Paper does not address carbon emissions from aircrafts whose proportion of total emissions is increasing. When it comes to greenhouse gas emissions (Redefining Prosperity, 2002) the race is a ‘dead heat’. The efficiency improvements are just about keeping pace with increases in consumption, however, road and air transport efficiency is not managing even this.
Increases in consumption are outrunning efficiency improvement. Even with predicted increases in fuel efficiency of passenger planes, increases in the UK’s air traffic would offset between 30 to 50% of the UK’s committed emissions reductions under the Kyoto protocol. 3. PEARCE’S TRANSITION MODEL 3. 1. INTRODUCTION Pearce provided a transition model which showed a road map for sustainable development.
Pearce stated that in the UK, in 1993, was not even at Stage 1 (1993: 174).
By looking at the model below, we can clearly see where the UK Government is today in terms of transport: 3. 2 POLICY 3. 2. 1. INTRODUCTION Pearce (1993: 195) makes specific mention that back in 1993 transport policies were pursuing a path of un-sustainable development.
This section will detail in what way the Government has steadily moved from Departmental integration into disintegration. 3. 2. 2.
OBJECTIVES The objective of this section is to show that even though the Energy White Paper’s remit is that energy, the environment and economic growth are properly and ‘sustainably’ integrated, the reality with regard to transport policy it is quite the opposite. Pearce detailed that one of the key reasons that the Government was failing was specific to the structure of the Government’s policy coordination and integration, and he also makes a clear point (2003: 184) that the Government can create an agency that looks politically attractive but does not always have the sustainable development at its root. An example of sustainable development finding roots in transport is detailed as follows: Year Key Events 1997 DETR created 1998 Transport White Paper published 2000 2010 published 2001 DEFRA created 2001 DTLR created 2002 DfT created In 1997, the Government integrated the Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions (DETR).
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In 1998 the Government set out a new vision for transport, and the Transport White Paper was published. In 2000 the government published Transport 2010 a road map to the vision set out in the White Paper of 1998 – a ten year plan which committed the Government to funding significant increases in capacity, reliability and safety of both road and rail (Transport and land-use planning, 2003).
In 2001, environment policy was placed in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and land-use planning and transport were located in the Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions (DTLR).
DTLR was one of a number of streamlined Departments designed to enable more effective policy delivery The Department of Transport was created in May 2002, and planning went to the office of The Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM).
(Transport and land-use planning, 2003).
Pearce (1993: 188) warns that lack of policy coordination and integration results in a chaotic jumble of policies and institutions are mismatched with problem. Some policies may be duplicated and pursued by two or three Departments and some are pursued by none – or policies are pursued by one agency which inadvertently undoes the work of another. 3. 2.
3 CONCLUSION A major concern is that a dedicated Department of Transport will create a “blinkered” approach and separating integrated policies could return the UK to a situation where transport projects were promoted at the expense of environmental impacts (Transport and land-use planning, 2003).
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Copley states (2003: 29) in his Report (which is monitoring the ten year transport plan), that two years into the plan the Government does not seem to be concerned about the lack of integration across “inter-governmental departments”, particularly in relation to planning. A key concern raised by Copley (2003: 29), is that planners are not giving adequate thought to environmental impact and that the need for inter-departmental integration is increasing, particularly since the then DETR has gradually separated into what is now DEFRA, ODPM and DfT. A good example of a “blinkered approach” is that since December 2002, the Government announced the biggest road widening programme in 20 years of lb 5.
5 billion. Comments from The Royal Town Planning Institute showed confusion regarding the relationship between transport strategies and the development planning system. The key criticism being that the disconnection of environment and land-use planning is seen as dangerous and an unwelcome step (International News 2003).
3 ECONOMY 4. 3. 1 INTRODUCTION A clear message from Pearce (2003: 184) is that the Labour Government must separate growth of economy from sustainability. 4.
3. 2. OBJECTIVE The key point for the future is can the growth of the economy be decoupled from sustainability? The Changing Patterns Report (2003) outlines the Governments strategy for decoupling. It talks about shaping the markets to take into consideration the environment. An example of shaping the markets is a policy of green taxation where the Government employs a “polluter pays” principle through environmental taxation. The result has been taxes such as the climate charge levy (CCL), the aggregates levy and land-fill taxes.
CCL was introduced to support the Government’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gases (Green Government or Gesture Politics, Environment Magazine, 2002).
According to an article in the International News “Green Party Cautious on Wind Claims from UK Government” (2003), the Government will invest lb 6 billion in green energy by building offshore wind turbines as part of its renewable energy strategy to tackle climate change, but the lb 5. 5 billion the Government intends for road building will have the opposite effect. The net effect is that the Government is sending out confusing messages regarding its decoupling strategy. Resource productivity is a key requirement to decouple economic growth from sustainability, but according to the “Transport and land-use planning” article (Environment Magazine, 2003) suggests that the Treasury Department places far too much emphasise on labour productivity, rather than resource productivity. The article gives an example of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) figures that show resource inefficiency costs of lb 20 billion per annum and 30% energy inefficiency per annum (equivalent to lb 12 billion) being wasted.
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The article states that it is hard to imagine any other policy where the Government’s response to in excess of lb 30 billion going down the drain would be so lackadaisical and disconnected. One area that is unclear regarding the “polluter pays” principle is aviation tax. According to transport campaign group (Transport 2000), aviation has become “the forgotten environmental issue.” Aviation poses a massive threat to the environment. Its projected growth means that by 2050 it is set to become one of the biggest single sources of greenhouse gas emissions with around 10 per cent of climate change directly attributable to aircraft. On short-haul flights air travel produces around three times as much carbon dioxide per passenger as rail, yet to date there is no aviation tax. Given that that visits to and from the UK have increased by 170% between 1980 and 2001, and that passengers at UK airports have tripled over the same period from 50 million to 162 million, and that future forecasts show demand rising by between 4 and 5%.
Source: Commission for Integrated Transport The Commission on Integrated Transport (Trends in Travel, 2003) details that Aviation Passenger Duty (currently between lb 5 and lb 40 per passenger) raises lb 800 million a year, but Climate Change costs are around lb 1. 4 billion per year, which means that UK industry only covers around 50% of the climate change costs it generates. This does not include other external costs such as noise pollution… By not paying for its full external costs, the aviation industry contributes to the over-consumption of its services. A recent article “Aviation is it up in the air?” by the transport campaign group (Transport 2000) discuses that First Choice, Thomas Cook and a number of other tour operators amongst 40 other organisations have set up The Travel Foundation to manage tourism more sustainably, through a policy of “care for the place we love to visit.” What is striking, however, is that there is no mention of The Travel Foundations strategy regarding greenhouse emissions.
Rail travel in the UK is certainly a mind field. The current situation is nicely positioned in The Observer article “faint light at the end of the track” (2003), which states that it will be 10 years before rail travel is as reliable as it was in the unreliable late 1990 s, even with a spend in excess of lb 8 billion over the next 5 years! 4. 3. 3 CONCLUSION A clear criticism of green taxation is the way in which the Government intends to use the revenue.
For example, the aggregate tax revenue is expected to generate lb 385 million for environmental good – 91% will be returned to business via a cut in employer national insurance contributions by 0. 1%. Coincidently, the exact percentage (0. 1%) that individual national insurance contributions were to increase by (Green Government or Gesture Politics, 2002).
It is evident that the UK Government is to decouple economic growth from environmental decline in terms of its strategy framework such as the Changing Patterns Report. However, the Redefining Prosperity Report (2002) argues that economic policy still seems to be designed as though maximizing GDP was its sole objective.
4. 4 SOCIETY 4. 4. 1. INTRODUCTION Pearce (2003, 184) refers to western society as being the “contented majority” e.
g. , happy with the status quo regardless. 4. 4.
2. OBJECTIVE The section will show that there is certain amount of complacency both from the media and the public in terms of sustainable development. An example of this could not be shown more clearly than in the Department for Transport Report on “New concern over car efficiency labelling” (2003) where the UK Transport Ministry states that most British car purchasers appear to have low interest in the environment despite the recent introduction of a link between annual car tax and CO 2 emissions. Environment is seen by most purchasers as a “dull, albeit important issue” and generally has low priority. In relation to the Transition Model, society seems to be aware of the environmental issues, particularly as media coverage predominates. It could be argued that given the current limitations of public transport, switching from car to bus / train is just not a choice – the return to public transport has stalled.
4. 4. 3. CONCLUSION The Redefining Prosperity Report (2002) talks about consumption driven economics and interestingly details Lewis Mumford’s prediction that consumer-led capitalism would make virtues of at least five of Christianity’s seven deadly sins – pride, avarice, lust, envy and gluttony – which (according to the Report) all appear to have come true! 4.
5. DISCOURSE 4. 5. 1. INTRODUCTION 4. 5.
2. OBJECTIVE The whole field of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and reporting is currently very active (CSR, Environment Magazine, 2003) as the external pressures from Governments, regulators and NGOs on companies to take some sort of action are increasing. It appears that many companies are making real efforts to manage and report on their impacts. One example is Camelot, the UK National Lottery organizers, who have detailed the environment as one of their stakeholders. It is becoming clear that NGOs are increasingly getting involved in partnerships and in the processes which shape laws and regulations and are exploring a legal requirement for large companies to report on their social and environmental impacts as a routine part of an annual report (CSR, Environmental Magazine, 2003).
In contrast, according to the Redefining Prosperity Report (2002) it states that although there has been some real progress on a number of key sustainable development areas since New Labour was elected in 1997, the Report says that: “There is a disturbing sense of sleepiness or ‘low priority’ about this Government’s overall approach to sustainable development. That too many things are put off to tomorrow, relegated to the ‘too difficult’ zone of politics, undersold as a kind of optional extra rather than an urgent priority.” 4. 5. 3 CONCLUSION Surprisingly, discourse, is the one area of the transition model that carries a positive message, large companies are being encouraged by Government and NGOs, to include environmental awareness issues in their annual reporting, however, how clear their reporting will be regarding overall environmental impact remains to be seen – but it is a positive step. 5. CONCLUSIONS In 1993, Pearce indicated that the UK transport system was failing to follow a route toward sustainable development.
It is sufficient to say that with regard to Pearce’s transition model – the UK transport system appears to be at Stage 1 of very weak sustainability, and it also appears to be regressing rather than progressing. The Government’s key objective regarding climate change (60% reduction in its carbon dioxide emissions by 2050 through policies) and some progress has been made regarding achieving the targets under the Kyoto Protocol, however, the question I am left with is how can the Government achieve this target when it is clear that road and air transport efficiency is failing and the targets achieved to date could easily be cancelled out by failure to get on top of transport. 6. Bibliography BBC News (October, 2003) Climate Change web > BBC News (October, 2003) Britain’s Nightmare Roads web > Copley, Jeff, (July, 2003) Monitoring of the 10 Year Transport Plan: Second Assessment Report Commission for Integrated Transport web > Commission for Integrated Transport (2003) Trends in Travel web > Croner’s Environmental Magazine (Winter, 2003) Transport and land-use planning: integration or disintegration? Croner’s Environmental Magazine (Summer, 2003) CSR – past, present and future DEFRA (2003) Changing Patterns – UK Government Framework for Sustainable Consumption and Production DEFRA Publications web > Department for Transport (2003) New concern over car efficiency labelling web > Hutton, Will, The Observer (19 th October, 2003) Faint light at the end of the track web > International News (2003) Green Party Cautious on Wind Claims from UK Government web > Jo wit, Juliette, The Observer, (19 th October 2003) Going nowhere – fast web > Pearce, David W. (1993), Blueprint 3: Measuring Sustainable Development, London Earths can Sustainable Development Commission (2002) Redefining prosperity: Resource efficiency, economic growth and sustainable Development (SDC report – 27. 06) web > Transport 2000 (2003) Aviation: is it up in the air? web.