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Transport produces 7 gigatons of greenhouse gas emissions annually. This represents 23% of energy-related emissions and around 14 % of total global emissions. While this includes emissions from planes, ships and trucks, the majority comes from our petrol and diesel guzzling cars. It is predicted that by 2040, a whopping 1 billion extra cars will join the 1.2 billion already on the road. If we continue with our current motoring habits, we’ll continue to see a huge increase in emissions (and traffic jams) - yikes!
To protect our planet (and ourselves from road rage) the future of transport must be electric. The beauty of electric cars is that there are no emissions being pumped out of the exhaust pipe and into our atmosphere. But it gets better. What if we didn’t have to drive at all? Another exciting phase of the transport revolution is autonomous vehicles. Yep, driverless cars – how cool is that?! Not only cars but all vehicles could be autonomous. We’ll also see the rise of ride-sharing.
This threefold transformation – electric vehicles, autonomous vehicles and ride-sharing – is not only going to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, traffic-related fatalities, traffic congestion and parking demand, it is going to be far cheaper. Making the transition to an electrified transport sector will benefit our wellbeing, our wallets and our planet! This disruption will impact many people's jobs though, so it is important we set up transition funds to make sure no-one is left behind.reduce your carbon footprint
We need to say good-bye to fossil fuel powered transport and give the green light to electrified cars, buses, trains and light rail that can be powered with 100% renewable energy. This means stopping the production of fossil fuel powered vehicles and subsidising electric vehicles to make them cheaper (many countries are already doing this!).
For electrified mass transit and autonomous vehicles to be a viable replacement to car ownership, we’ll also need to transform our cities.
If we think back to when motorised transportation replaced horses and carriages more than a century ago, we can see how technological advancement completely changed the urban landscape. We needed wider, better roads and the invention of safety technology like traffic lights. We needed petrol stations, parking lots and home garages. Governments had to regulate who could drive and which vehicles were roadworthy.
This next jump in motorised transportation technology will also need new infrastructure and laws. People will need increased accessibility to reliable public transport and other driving alternatives like dedicated cycling lanes and pleasant walking routes.
Anyone who uses, operates, regulates, manufactures or fuels the transport sector needs to get on board for the transition. Governments need to develop coherent transport and climate change policies with incentives to encourage lower emitting vehicles, such as mandatory greenhouse gas emissions standards and electric vehicle targets. They’ll need to implement transport plans and policies to ensure we can efficiently move around our major cities. Industry will need to start building our new transport fleet and the energy sector will need to transition to renewable.
While we wait for the rollout we can still make efforts to cut emissions from the transport sector. We can ride-share, car share, use public transport or, better yet, walk or cycle. We can reduce can our travel footprint by choosing ground transport over flying whenever possible, carbon offsetting our flights when we do fly, or simply – by choosing to travel less! Most importantly we can stay informed and choose new, clean solutions when they emerge.join zero carbon communities