RMT warns Government won’t cut carbon emissions by cutting public transport services

RMT warns Government won’t cut carbon emissions by cutting public transport services

20 April 2021

RMT Press Office

Responding to the news that the Government is set to speed up its targets to cut carbon emissions RMT today claimed the rhetoric must be met with much more ambitious actions.

Transport emissions account for 20% of the UK’s total emissions and the union highlighted the Government’s hypocrisy with its current plans for railway austerity and potential cuts to rail services and rail jobs.

RMT also renewed called for the Government to urgently standardise green fuel sources and carbon capture and storage technology to avoid job losses amongst seafarers and port workers in the UK. Shipping and offshore industries have to accept that flying thousands of seafarers into the UK to work on domestic and short sea routes for lower pay and conditions is no longer acceptable on environmental as well as social grounds. International regulation will be decisive in this and the Government must back this green rhetoric in negotiations at IMO level. Internationally, total carbon emissions from shipping rose nearly 10% between 2012 and 2018.

Commenting on the Government plans RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:

“The government says it wants to cut carbon emissions but at the same time is planning to cut funding of public transport services as the massive cutbacks on Network Rail show.

“In the same year that the UK is hosting the vital COP26 global climate talks the hypocrisy from this Government is mind-blowing and they are clearly not taking the climate crisis seriously enough. The Government should be showing global leadership with a mass investment in rail, metro and bus services and infrastructure - instead, we’ve got them making backroom plans to make massive cuts to rail and public transport.”

“The inclusion of international shipping and aviation emissions in domestic totals is overdue and there is no certainty over how ships of the future will be fuelled or how escalating emissions from the existing merchant fleet will be mitigated. As in the offshore sector, this transition to clean shipping must stamp out unscrupulous employment practices and create jobs.

“The Government needs to get real and regulate – words are cheap but the need for action has never been greater.”


Note to Editors

  1. The International Maritime Organisation’s 4th Greenhouse Gas Study published in August 2020 found that total greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping rose 9.6% to 1.076m tonnes in 2018, from 977m tonnes in 2012.


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Tagged with: Carbon Emissions