Uncovering the industry’s green shoots

This month, we introduced a new Greenbusandcoach section to the print magazine, and at the same time, our website busandcoach.com has become greenbusandcoach.com. Both of these developments are an explicit statement of our intention to focus heavily on environmental factors in our reporting of the sector.

For as long as I can remember, the bus and coach industry has tried to assert its environmental credentials as a key component of the public transport sector. Historically it relied principally on carrying capacity to make the case – one bus (if full) takes 70 odd cars off the road. The bus industry has also been a leader compared to some automotive sectors, particularly in hybrid vehicles, with support from successive Green Bus Funds in England, Wales and Scotland.

But the world has moved on and we are now in a much more challenging time with growing pressure for businesses to demonstrate they are addressing the problems of climate change and air pollution.

I don’t underestimate the scale or the cost that is involved in transforming businesses to a low-carbon low-pollution future. Indeed, we have covered the challenge of achieving Euro 6-level emissions in recent months, and that is just the very start of the journey. But the future health and prosperity of bus and coach operators may to a large degree depend on how well they can manage this transition.

There are of course still some who doubt that we can or should take note of the mass of scientific evidence on climate change: What’s the problem with a couple of degrees extra warming? they say.

Well, just for them, a simple fact: the difference between average global temperatures today and the last ice age was around 5 degrees Celsius; so when the vast majority of scientific opinion is urging us to keep to 1.5 or 2 degrees warming by 2100, we should act, quickly.