Whatever the complexity in planetary physics, the surface temperature of our planet is rising, and in concert with the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration. Attempts to discredit both measurement and correlation have failed. Backing them up is the clearly visible recession of the summer arctic ice-cap, and the melting of the Greenland ice-sheet.
These observations offer no proof of man-made global warming, nor of any model of planetary physics. Anything remains possible. But they are deeply disturbing, as is the recent observation of a catastrophic decline in oceanic phytoplankton, attributed to climatic change.
Almost the entire scientific community is calling for an invocation of the precautionary principle, and a dramatic and rapid reduction in global carbon dioxide emission. Only one model yields stabilization, and that requires 24% reduction by 2050 and 60% by 2100.
More than a quarter of carbon dioxide emission in Britain and America arises from road transport.
In both countries, residential and industrial emission is falling. That from transport is rising. In Britain, despite an increase of 7% in energy efficiency, growth in mileage has caused road transport emission to rise by 9%, taking its share of the total from 22 to 26%. (Aviation emission grew 53%, in the same period, but still accounts for just 1%.)
No adequate supply of any alternative to fossil fuel has even been proposed. Batteries remain heavy, limit range, and require ‘clean’ electricity generation to make a difference. We must also remember that around half the carbon emission over the life of a car results from its manufacture and disposal.
To control carbon emission, and thus global warming, far less reliance upon road transport would seem imperative.