The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has issued a practical guide for what the world can do to reduce the impacts of climate change. Among the densely scientific recommendations are calls for Governments to reduce reliance on individualised motor transport and, instead, prioritise walking, cycling and public transport. Not only would such measures be good for the planet they would also make sound economic sense, said the panel of the world’s leading environmental scientists.
“Prioritizing infrastructure for pedestrians and integrating nonmotorized and transit services can create economic and social co‐benefits in all regions,” says the report.
Criticising roads built for motor transport the panel’s report said: “Established infrastructure may limit the options for modal shift and lead to a greater reliance on advanced vehicle technologies… For all economies, especially those with high rates of urban growth, investment in public transport systems and low‐carbon infrastructure can avoid lockin to carbon‐intensive modes.”
The report doesn’t feel electric cars are a significant part of the answer to reducing transport’s emissions because the emissions are merely displaced, not reduced.
“The transport sector accounted for 27% of final energy use and 6.7 GtCO2 direct emissions in 2010, with baseline CO2 emissions projected to approximately double by 2050,” said the report.
“Technical and behavioural mitigation measures for all transport modes, plus new infrastructure and urban redevelopment investments, could reduce final energy demand in 2050 by around 40% below the baseline…Integrated urban planning, transit‐oriented development, more compact urban form that supports cycling and walking, can all lead to modal shifts.”