Fossil fuel emissions are slowly devastating the planet – and even with cars becoming more ecologically minded, their sheer number still adds up for an uneasy calculus. The question the becomes the following: how do you manage to cut up on them without sacrificing the benefits of modern transport?
This is tackled in a study released recently by the University of California, Davis, and the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP), which shows that the emissions from urban transportation could be cut by more than half by 2050 and lead to a saving of $100 trillion in public and private spending.
Not only this, the ‘high shift’ would also reduce the number annual premature deaths caused by or linked to exposure to vehicle poisonous emissions by 1.4 million.
The report will be published at a United Nations Habitat III Preparatory Meeting in New York on September 17th ahead of December’s climate summit, and proposes governments expansion of rail and bus transports, which also ensures that cities are safer for pedestrians and cyclists.
“This timely study is a significant contribution to the evidence base showing that public transport should play central role in visions for the city of tomorrow,” Alain Flausch, Secretary General of the International Association of Public Transport, and member of UN Secretary General’s Advisory Group on Sustainable Transport said.
The report, called „A Global High Shift Scenario” .also suggests reductions in carbon dioxide emissions reaching 1,700 megatons per year in 2050- a 40 percent reduction in urban passenger transport emissions.
Transportation in urban areas led to emissions of about 2,300 megatons of CO2 in 2010. Transportation-wise developing countries like China and India are under examination along with the current world leader in urban passenger transport emissions, with nearly 670 megatons annually, USA. It expects decrease in these emissions to 560 megatons by 2050 with improvements in fuel efficiencies, highly efficient vehicles and less driving.
However considering more sustainable transportation ways will make the country reach about 280 megatons anually, under the High Shift scenario by 2050. In China, CO2 emissions can rise from 190 megatons annually to more than 1,100 megatons. However the projections shows the emissions decreasing by almost a half (almost 650 megatons) if bus and metro systems were developed extensively.
Indian emissions, will also take nearly an eight-fold leap reaching 540 megatons by 2050 from 70 megatons now but the researchers expects to moderate it by more than a third if cities minimizes car use and scrutinize crucial infrastructure deficiencies in its public transport systems.
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