“Only dramatic cuts in emissions over the next decade can prevent us from flying into the climate crisis. Aspirational targets and a few new train lines or ‘green’ standards are not enough. It’s time to ensure all transport investments fund a just transition towards climate-proof, equitable mobility for all.”
Lorelei Limousin, Greenpeace EU climate campaigner
The transport sector accounts for more than one-quarter of emissions in the EU. Even more worryingly, emissions from transport have grown up to 28% compared to 1990 levels in Europe.
Greenpeace recently published a pathway to decarbonising transport by 2040. According to this document, to achieve this goal, the sale of petrol, diesel and hybrid vehicles must end by 2028 at the latest, and the number of flights must fall by at least 33% and privately owned cars of 47%. At the same time, significant investments must be made in cleaner transport modes such as trains, other public transport and – above all –cycling. In other words: we don’t have only to decrease pollution, but we must change our way of life.
Proper infrastructure is essential to the transformation. Affordable train connections are necessary in order to shift passengers and freight from air and road to rail for both domestic and cross-border trips. Passengers also need a simple booking system to compare trips and purchase tickets. And we need cycle paths. Everywhere. To ride safe. We have to ride a bike to go to work, to go to school. Bicycles must go back to their original purpose: not only a sport but above all a means of transport.
The German national recovery plan allocates 2.2 billion euro to incentives for the purchase of electric and hybrid cars. The French plan allocates 1.9 billion euros to such incentives and is even more favourable to car-makers. It also provides support for road infrastructure. Both plans invest in aviation.
Also, investing in electric cars sounds like postponing the problem: we reduce the car smog, but then we will have to dispose of the huge number of electric parts.
The bikes will save the World. We must keep this up in our minds. Now.