Delivering the Goods, but with unsustainable CO2 Levels. The Dover Calais Ferry.

It has become almost a convention in climate science to treat CO2 emissions and air pollution as separate problems. They are not.  Diesel emissions from HGV freight movement are a primary source of CO2    The World Health Organisation defines these emissions in concentration within cities and agglomerations as:  “Vehicles, industry, and households emitting complex mixtures of air pollutants.  Of these, fine particulate matter, which comes from fuel combustion, vehicles, power plants, industry, households, and biomass burning has the greatest impact on health;” but beyond that, these toxic city smog like clouds are a warming influence, less potent than CO2 but warming never the less.  One thing is certain, eliminating the one dramatically lessens the other, and demonstrates clear pathways to sustainable cities. 

Port of Dover providing Diesel HGV access to Kent and Pas de Calais

The freedom of movement of goods within the single market is a founding principle of the EU.  The Customs Union administers the policing of this smooth movement.  The Dover Calais Ferry Port is the epitome of this free and easy activity that sees anything you want, from a lettuce to a lightbulb, at your door within a day.  So,  who wants Brexit?  Our ‘Remain’ politicians are beavering away, night and day to find a way, where we can still be in the customs union and have Brexit; sad to say they are failing, they failed to persuade us to vote remain, and now they are, (ever so reluctantly), asking us to vote again, or have another election.  ‘No Deal,’ is by far the best deal for the environment, because it is a quick clean break which allows the UK to wipe clean the slate of ineffective and counterproductive EU law. 

 

These lettuces and light bulbs come at a cost far greater than £’s and €’s.  Cost is counted in atmospheric pollution and CO2 emissions.  Dover Calais generates increasing amounts of both, over the South East, London and Northern France; three times more than the EU average.  The European Academies Science Advisory Council have produced a report which advises a 50% average increase in Diesel HGV's across the EU, in a time period where the Dover Calais ferry has increased 145%, and we haven’t reached the zenith of that EU average.  EASAC report 37, says without intervention, (or leaving), this EU average is predicted to rise up to 30% in the next decade.  EASAC 37  advises a move from freedom of movement to sustainable movement of both freight and people, because without change the EU will fail to reach the criteria we have collectedly agreed this will contort the single market and customs union.  Change is inevitable, but a climate crisis in Europe demands an immediacy which the EU cannot produce; and immediacy which the existing Parliament or UK Legal system are both equally incapable of a resolution in favour a climate crisis. 

The Climate Clock demands we change our emitting ways; but the EU opposes change, pursuing a failed climate policy which is costing £billions and we aren't even marking time.  The next big test for Europe is saving the, 'Paris Climate Agreement,' in Santiago between the 26th Nov and 13th Dec 2019.

 

Port of Dover and the iconic White Cliffs where unsustainable freight movements threaten UK's climate programme

Adapting Kent to a sustainable freight movement centre for European/UK trade for the next 100 years

A second Channel crossing between Kent and the Pas de Calais.  This crossing should be triple the capacity of the first crossing; designed for passenger and freight movements, and powered by low emission electric trains.  This can only be built with the cooperation and mutual desire of both England and France to enjoy sustainable trade and tourism between our countries.  Both France and the UK are committed to climate change programmes and clean energy especially including Nuclear.  The existing movement of freight on the Dover Calais ferry is unsustainable in CO2 emissions, and the complex toxic gases associated with diesel HGV's.  Eradicating diesel HGV's, and the Ro-Ro Ferries bottle neck at the Dover Calais crossing is important to both countries, but France also acts as a land bridge between Spain, Portugal and Italy accessing  central Europe.  This is a much greater burden than that of the UK, with only Ireland and possibly Scotland using a land bridge to Europe,  A large part of Europes climate crisis stems from inadequate monitoring of fuel and freight movements with their associated emissions.  Remedial actions between the UK and France will almost be complete by the tunnels and associated rail infrastructure changes in both countries 

The new Thames crossing east of London should be electric rail for passenger services, and freight movement.  There may also be a case for a dual road rail crossing;  although sustainable freight and passenger movement replaces HGV and large Diesel utility transport. The new crossing would be an important and integral part of a 'Brexit' line which should be Edinburgh to Dover in its ambition, providing sustainable trade with the mainland continent from Scotland, down the East coast. With the cross Pennine links to the lines already announced by the Johnson Government, the Brexit line would be the foundation for rail freight distribution which will bring sustainability to both European trade, and our own internal trade. 

Remember the demands of EASAC 37? Our sustainable freight and passenger movements have to be in sink with the continent, and the EU's tightening of supply lines will also have to be mirrored in the UK.  The UK's tightening of supply lines will lead to some job losses, but these will be neutralised by jobs gained from work reimported under Brexit.  EASAC 37 is about sustainable efficiency.  Climate imperatives are not 'austerity,' or the myriad buzz policies beloved of Chancellors of the Exchequer.  They are irreversible, until they are no longer needed, or made redundant by technological advance.  

If we cancel HS2, (a specialist train designed for passenger only movement within the UK), the funding for the Brexit line could be considered in place. Sustainable distribution requires rail and waterway hubs in London soaking up the investment already made on the London end of HS2.

 

Sheerness is a major port in the mouth of the Thames with room for development towards Chatham and Gillingham.  The most effective sustainable freight movement is by barge over waterways.  The UK has fewer natural chances to exploit this phenomenon,but the Thames is an exception.  It has the capability of mass barge traffic, some self powered, others in tow chains, exactly as the Rhine is used on the continent.  Trade between London and middle Europe can be waterborn from source to destination.  Distribution from the rail and waterway hubs would be by electric and hydrogen gas transport.  The barge traffic would be by Hydrogen gas movement, Waterways do not readily adapt to electrical trolley and overhead wiring, and Hydrogen will replace oil as the least expensive motive force, being able to be produced and used or shipped from the four corners of the earth, it's the 'natural' battery for storing and distributing renewable and emission free energy. 

The image on the left shows a 'rail' roll on roll off ferry.  The geographic position of Ramsgate and the port infrastructure already in place, (but unused under the existing single market demand, and preference, for diesel HGV's in Dover), would be an ideal siting for rail ferries to and from Kent.  Rail freight is the choice of EU scientists for European sustainable freight movement; and in every respect it should be the UK's choice too, because like Holland, Belgium and France we are geographically a 'Land Bridge' country, and the needs of our own internal trade, as well as servicing our 'bridge' responsibilities,  requires a commonality of sustainable distribution methods.  A direct rail link to London's railway hubs is the major infrastructure needed, and if the Brexit line proceeds it would put Ramsgate at the heart of sustainable exports and imports to Europe till the end of this century 

Images on this page from Adobe Images.  https://stock.adobe.com

The four examples above are demonstrations of Adaption, has defined by the IPCC.  All four have elements of Geo-Engineering in their make up.  An IPCC clause specifically makes clear that geo-engineering projects are best pursued by Autonomous states, (those with sovereign powers over implementation).  There are few examples of International Geo-Engineering, because they are limited to states with the economic stature, and will, to undertake the project.  This is best demonstrated by the EU, with its apalling climate record , but a political system which is demonstrably inert when action is required, even in a climate crisis.  Post Brexit we could proceed on two as an Autonomous State, Procuring accurate CO2 information within Europe is difficult now, and relies on the EU implementing the scientific advice in EASAC 37.

The channel crossing could be undertaken by simple negotiation with the French, and a cost benefit analysis methodology agreed between two states.   It would have to be a tunnel because any other crossing would interfere with International Shipping Rights.  The Brexit line could similarly proceed with the cost-benefit analysis within the gift of the UK Govvernment.  Sheerness and Ramsgate are more problamatic, because they require state of the art information collation to produce a climatic cost benefit analysis, and would be subject to non-governmental fiscal analysis providing the impetous to proceed.

This, in a nutshell is why the Irish border has been such a problem to Brexit.  While the financial benefits to both Ireland and the UK are plainly obvious, they are restricted by a political framework which has no financial, health, or social benefit at its heart.  The danger is rejecting Brexit because its easier to remain in a flawed political framework.  For the sake of the planet, treat this thinking with the contempt it deserves.  Saving a couple of pence in 2020 by maintaining unsustainable practises, condemns our children and grandchildren to a limiting future, with irreversable climate consequences.

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