CO2 Emissions Have Risen by 40 Percent Since 1990

While looking at this cute video made last year by the Environmental Defense Fund, we thought it is worth to remind you about the failure of Kyoto Protocol. According to the German Renewable Energy Industry Institute (IWR), carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions rose by 1.94 percent in 2008 to 31.5 billion tons.

CO2 emissions rose for the tenth year in succession and have risen by 40 percent since 1990 — the year towards which emissions reductions were to be measured for the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.

There is no need to remind you that the huge part of emissions is due to cars and the need to draft a new protocol that would really help to support sustainable transportation in all its dimensions (urban planing, active and strong support for public transportation, biking, walking…). Before that, we can all follow the wise advise of this ideo and ride rather to drive….

You can find more information about IWR report here.

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More colours in car adverts?

On the streets just outside the EU Parliament in Brussels we’ve asked people about the information in car adverts, showing two versions of our imaginary MOTOKA car advert.

In the first ad the info is very similar to the way it is currently displayed on car ads. In the second ad the info is more prominently displayed with a colour code label.

Which one is more clear? Do you understand the figures?

Video by Friends of the Earth Europe : http://www.drivingthechange.eu

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Carfree London?

Imagine the plot… an evil tycoon or dictator plans to destroy the planet by pumping out carbon dioxide until irreversible climate change takes hold and we all drown, starve or kill each other in wars over scarce resources. Who or what could save us?

What’s that in the distance?

Is it a giant shield to deflect the sun’s energy?
Is it an electric car?
Is it the promised bionic duckweed-powered perpetual motion transportation machine of the future here today?
Is it Superman?

No! It’s a carfree London.

Move over Clarke Kent, today’s heroes are James Woodcock and colleagues at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Their recent research in medical journal The Lancet (too radical for the academic transport press?) examined various scenarios designed to reduce CO2 emissions from transport in London by 80%, in line with the British target enshrined in the Climate Change Act of 2008.

They found that a carfree Greater London with significant land use changes to reduce trip distances – facilitating a shift to active travel – and challenging transport energy efficiency improvements are required to reduce emissions by 83% on a 2000 baseline. Unfortunately for the ‘technology will save us’ brigade, business as usual with moderate efficiency gains would deliver a cut of only 11.5%. A third scenario of a carfree inner London with ‘hybrid suburbs’ would enable a maximum reduction of 55%.

As well as ignoring Londoners’ air travel and emissions associated with commuters and tourists from outside London, there are a host of optimistic assumptions in the modelling of these scenarios, ranging from de-carbonisation of energy supplies (vital for electric cars to deliver net carbon savings), measures to limit population growth in the south-east of England and implementation of policies to support active travel. So the message is clear: a carfree Greater London is required, but is just one of the policies we need if serious about reducing CO2 emissions from transport, currently the only sector in which they are still increasing.

Boris, will you be the superman who banishes the car and saves us from ourselves? Perhaps your near miss with a Luther Industries truck and parked car has focussed your mind somewhat? Over to you…

Simon Field

Note: please contact me if you would like a copy of the full text from the Lancet article.

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Fuming mad

Air quality has plummeted along one of the main traffic sewers into Brighton to such an extent that the Council has said no to new house building on the route: residents would be poisoned in their own homes.

Air pollution in Brighton - ©The Argus

Air pollution in Brighton - ©The Argus

Green councillor Ian Davey said, “It is staggering we have allowed air quality to get so terrible.”

Quite. What about the existing population of the area? Er, they’ve been told not to open their windows.

My questions for car drivers, the local authority and the Department for Transport are:

1. In a city well served by rail and bus, do you have to make your journey by car?

2. When will we have ‘action’ from the local Air Quality Action Plan e.g. bans on a proportion of the private car fleet on hot days, as used in Italy and Greece? Was it sensible to permit the withdrawal of Brighton’s sole park and ride service in April, and why are you considering lower city centre car parking charges?

3. Why are the premature deaths of 24,000 people in Britain every year from air pollution considered acceptable? What happened to the polluter pays concept?

What does our society value more: the freedom from entirely controllable threats to our health, or the so-called right to drive when, where and as often as we want without restriction?

In the words of the EC’s 2001 transport white paper, it’s time to decide.

Simon Field

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