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Vehicles and carbon emissions

The Times

The stringent carbon reductions demanded are in practice impossible to achieve by 2020

Sir, If carbon dioxide emissions are to be drastically reduced, Richard Pike (letter, Feb 3) suggests that “the hydrocarbon internal combustion engine should cease to exist beyond 2020”, with the ultimate source of motive power being renewable and low-carbon electricity. In reality, such a move would be impossible in this timescale without a Soviet-style command economy, in which all other issues would come second to the central goal of emissions reduction.

Perhaps the point should be turned on its head: the stringent reductions demanded are, in practice impossible to achieve by 2020. Acceptance of this simple fact would be a good start for developing sound and realistic policy that would not damage an already weakened economy.

Martin Livermore