Somewhat confusingly, concern about, and belief in, global warming is falling in the UK. YouGov, in recent polling have found that from a starting point of nearly 80% in 2005 just over 60% of people hold an interest in the subject now. In line with this only 27% feel that climate change is a serious, urgent problem requiring radical steps to address. Amazingly 34% are not clear that climate change is actually happening; all in the face of incontrovertible evidence.
For the disbelievers amongst us the graph below shows the rise in worldwide temperatures since 1850, a pattern that is being fuelled by industrial activity and will continue unless emission levels are reduced. An explanation of the science of climate change can be found in the Royal Society link at the bottom of the article.
In the face of overwhelming evidence it is difficult to explain the public’s stance. There is a great deal of skepticism displayed regularly in the UK press on the subject, so clearly this is important in informing opinion. Searching the Daily Mail website for ‘climate change’ provides sufficient evidence of this; the articles themselves and subsequent comments often display classic conspiracy theorems. Although not usually willing to use Wikipedia as a source of information there is an excellent list found in the link below this article. Climate change could apparently be about anti-globalisation, left-wing revolution or right wing support for nuclear power. To provide supplemental proof, at a recent dinner party I was told that government acceptance and action on climate change was motivated purely as an opportunistic tax grab.
Clearly the industry itself has embraced the concept of reducing CO2 emissions with initiatives such as the FTA’s Logistics Carbon Reduction Scheme and now you barely see a haulier’s livery without a ‘green’ message. The positive here, if there is one, is that there is clearly lots of room for improvement. In the UK, 25% of miles driven in commercial vehicles are empty and the UK has the lowest average payload in the EU (30% below plated weight). So in short, in the UK, we do not fill vehicles to their capacity and when they have delivered we are not very good at re-loading them.
Admittedly these are not always easy goals to attain for the 3 / 4th party logistics provider. Often how full a vehicle is may not be completely in their control. Consumers demand next day delivery where a more flexible approach could lead to more efficient routes and fuller vehicles. Equally there may well not be re-loads available to a haulier when and where they need them; this of course can be exacerbated by a lack of cooperation between organisations protecting their commercial interests and shunning a collaborative approach. There are of course numerous easy wins that hauliers can target, effective route planning, fuel efficient vehicles, aerodynamic trailers and improving driving technique. In the final analysis though it is unlikely that the industry will improve much on empty miles run and vehicle fill unless there is a change in public attitudes to climate change and a more collaborative approach can be found between industry competitors.
The Science behind Global Warming / Climate Change http://royalsociety.org/uploadedFiles/Royal_Society_Content/policy/publications/2010/4294972962.pdf
Global Warming Conspiracy Theories http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_warming_conspiracy_theory