Queen's Speech: UK will be at 'forefront' of climate action and green transport
The Queen's Speech today (18 May) underlined Government commitments to tackle climate change and unveiled plans to boost new forms of low-carbon transport - including "pioneer driverless cars".
In her infamous annual address to Parliament, the Queen said: “My Government will continue to play a leading role in world affairs, using its global presence to tackle climate change and address major international security, economy and humanitarian challenges.”
According to the Queen, the Government will move to respond to global trends set by the recent Paris Agreement by playing "a leading role” in efforts to fight global climate change.
With 175 countries recently signing that Paris Agreement to limit global warming to 2C, the UK Government will seek to reduce carbon emissions by 80% by 2050 against a 1990 baseline as part of its involvement with the European Union’s nationally determined contributions (NDC).
Much of the UK’s fate on addressing climate change will rest on the level of ambition set in the fifth carbon budget - the levels of which were recently recommended by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC).
Reacting to today’s Queen’s Speech, Aldersgate Group’s executive director Nick Molho said: “As part of its legislative agenda for the coming year, we urge the government to build on its achievements at the Paris climate change summit and put forward a package of measures that will accelerate affordable investment in energy efficient and low carbon infrastructure in the UK.
“Rapidly adopting the fifth carbon budget recommended by the Committee on Climate Change and putting forward a comprehensive carbon plan by the end of 2016 must be a key part of this.”
Outlines were also provided by the Queen to add specifics to the Transport Bill, with the Government set to include new laws to “pioneer” driverless cars, while also implementing legislation to support the uptake of electric vehicles (EV).
“My ministers will ensure the United Kingdom is at the forefront of technology for new forms of transport, including autonomous and electric vehicles,” the Queen said.
That pledge to support driverless cars comes during a booming period for the transport sector in its low-cabron transition. With Tesla finally establishing itself and its vehicles as a mainstream option – as highlighted by the record sales of the new Model 3 – established automotive companies are turning to autonomous features to carve out a niche in a swelling market.
Nissan recently unveiled what it believes is “the future of autonomous driving and zero emissions”. The EV concept can drive itself, while also promoting environmental awareness. By 2020, Nissan expects to see the autonomous aspect of the vehicle to be deployed worldwide. The company has also revealed that its Qashqai model – under investigation in South Korea for alleged emissions fraud – will be the first model to utilise autonomous technology in the UK.
Meanwhile, Swedish manufacturer Volvo has also revealed it will be trialling an ambitious autonomous driving system in the UK next year, representing the "largest and most extensive AD testing programme on Britain's streets".
Last week, Tesla’s UK and Ireland country director Georg Ell reiterated the potential growth in the EV space; also claiming that car clubs would soon be a thing of the past, driven out of the market by customisable EVs that can autonomously drive directly to their owners.