In November 2015, the Paris Conference on Climate Change reached, initially considering that the inaugural Conference of Parties (COP) in 1995, a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, with the goal of keeping global warming below 2°C.
“The Paris Agreement also sends a powerful signal on the many 1000s of cities, regions, businesses and citizens around the globe already dedicated to climate action their vision of the low-carbon, resilient future has become the chosen course for humanity this century,” stated Ms Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the entire body that convenes the conference.
Simultaneously, a new study from the Institute for Transport Studies at University of California, Davis-also released in November 2015-quantified simply how much increased bike riding delivers in reductions of CO2 emissions as well as consumption of transport, while reducing the overall cost burden of transport. Called A Global High Shift Cycling Scenario, the analysis modelled the outcome of a shift in utilization of electric self-balancing scooter to become 22% of all transport trips in most cities worldwide by 2050.
With this particular shift, the model found out that CO2 emissions as well as use can be 47% reduced by 2050, and expense is reduced by a staggering US$128 trillion. This really is when compared with continuing within a ‘business as usual’ manner where private motor vehicle with an internal-combustion engine makes 80% of trips.
These types of results should attract the attention of policy-makers within australia, whose task using the Paris Agreement, would be to draft ‘Nationally Determined Agreements’ which will halt and initiate to decrease emissions causing climatic change. These must include actions on transport, which globally makes up about nearly 25% of carbon emissions. Transport’s contribution in Australia is actually a lesser 16-17%, although not because we are doing anything directly to curb it-our vehicle emission standards are the worst within the developed world-but because our coal-fired electricity generators will be the dirtiest on the planet and our agriculture is heavily reliant on fossil-fuel-derived fertilisers.
Also urging all nations to action on climate change-and focussing all development on a sustainable and socially responsible trajectory-are the UN Sustainable Development Goals. These new goals, established in September 2015 and guiding development for the following fifteen years, follow on through the Millenium Development Goals of 2000-2015. Whereas the Millenium Development Goals were guidance for developing countries though, this latest round of goals-which have been agreed through the UN general assembly process-provide all countries with guidelines and responsibilities to help make all development sustainable and globally just.
Goal 13 on the list, as an illustration, is always to “Take urgent action to combat global warming and its particular impacts”. The UN expressed optimism regarding this, saying: “The pace of change is quickening as more folks are turning to renewable energy and an array of other measures that can reduce emissions and increase adaptation efforts.”
In order to combat climate change, Goal 7 exhorts countries and businesses to: “increase substantially the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix”. The prospective set is: “By 2030, enhance international cooperation to facilitate entry to clean energy research and technology, including renewable power, energy efficiency and advanced and cleaner fossil-fuel technology, and promote investment in energy infrastructure and clean energy technology”.
So, just how is the Australian government conducting the continent as a way to meet our international climate commitments?
JanetSenator Janet Rice, Spokesperson on Transport for your Greens plus a former Senior Strategic Transport Planner in local government, told Ride On: “There’s a huge gap between those guidelines and what governments are likely to register to as motherhood statements, then being intent on the implementation than it.”
“Our current government carries a woeful history in terms of complying with international agreements,” she indicates. “That’s the task for people like us Greens to become pointing out that people will not be operating consistently together with the things we are joining. The community and society need to be calling our governments out on that also. Regular reviews [stipulated by the Paris Agreement] is amongst the good stuff that has emerge from the targets, in order that we are able to keep a record every five years of how we are going.”
Labor’s Mark Butler said: “As the Shadow Minister for Environment, Global Warming and Water, sustainability is a critical aspect of all the work I actually do. One of my core priorities is determining how better to reduce carbon pollution. Part of Labor’s ten point plan for better cities is investing in active transport solutions which connect track of public transport to be able to help persuade folks for taking up low carbon travel option. Making smart helmet a viable choice for commuters can be a key opportunity to help lessen carbon pollution,?reach our emissions reduction targets and supply positive health impacts.”
The Minister for the Environment, the Liberal party’s Greg Hunt is keeping a tight focus on cities. “Improving the productivity, liveability and accessibility of Australia’s cities is a national priority to the Turnbull Government,” he said. “Ensuring access to a selection of transport modes, including cycling and public transport, may play an essential part in delivering these objectives.”
An area of focus to the current Abbott-Turnbull government is air quality. Minister Hunt in December 2015 released a National Clean Air Agreement struck between the government and the Australian states. The Environment Minister told Ride On: “The National Clean Air Agreement’s initial work plan includes reducing air pollution from non-road petrol engines such as garden equipment and marine engines, together with wood heaters. These sources can contribute around 10 per cent of air pollutants in cities. The Agreement includes important setting process to help governments to supply coordinated and practical responses to quality of air problems.
“Cars overall are generally, much more of the affect on our quality of air than marine engines and wood burners,” she says. “But they may be accepted as being the baseline: ‘We couldn’t come to be doing much to modify that’. You’re not getting to zero emissions until we have into a fleet of electric cars fuelled on 100% renewably produced electricity and that’s a considerable ways off.”
The Top Shift Cycling study, however, envisages a world where transport is a lot more diverse-and finds tremendous benefits in this diversity. Its underlying assumptions are that trips under 10km are cycle-able and more than half of all trips are cycle-able by that definition. Across all global cities, the model anticipates a big difference through the current average of 7% of trips made by bicycle and ebike to 18% of trips in 2030 and 22% of trips by 2050.
BAU: Business As Usual. HS: High Shift(2014). HSC: High Shift Cycling (2015) With regards to transport, A Worldwide High Shift Cycling Scenario implies that continuing inside a ‘business as usual’ manner takes us within the opposite direction to where we should visit curb CO2 emissions.
The Top Shift Cycling (HSC) study was preceded with a High Shift study of 2014, also conducted by the Institute for Transport Studies at University of California, Davis. The prior study modelled a shift to a greater proportion of public transport, cycling and walking but was criticised as not ambitious enough about the potential of increase in cycling like a mode share. The Top Shift Cycling study was commissioned with the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) and also the Bicycle Products Suppliers Association (BPSA).
So how can this sort of shift come about, especially in Australia, where cycling to work across our metropolitan cities currently makes up about about 2Per cent of trips? The investigation explains: “The HSC scenario is predicated upon an aggressive policy agenda where tough political decisions are produced in the national level and in cities worldwide to opt for density, locational efficiency, mixed use, and parking management. Political leaders have strong incentives to select this path, because it leads to a dramatic lowering of societal investments and operating as well as costs, plus it provides improved economic well-being, enhanced social equity and stability, and strong reductions in environmental damage over the current trajectory.
“Since the HSC scenario saves money, investing in it is far from problematic. Cities and countries across the spectrum of wealth have demonstrated the opportunity of rapid increases in cycling, in fact it is clear that such a scenario is possible within the given length of time. However, a large amount of political will is needed to 94dexepky course from the BAU [Business as always] to implement an HSC scenario, in fact it is not clear if cities and countries will be able to find such will, especially considering the low capacity for long-term planning in several places.”
You can find samples of where this has been done the analysis highlights: “Over the long run, it could be entirely possible that many cities to replicate the success of cycling in cities such as Groningen, Assen, and Amsterdam within the Netherlands, where cycling exceeds forty percent of trips, and also in Copenhagen in Denmark, which grew from low levels of cycling after The Second World War to a lot more than 45 percent of trips today.
“Seville, Spain, is extremely relevant, since it grew cycling mode share from .5 percent to nearly 7 percent of trips in six years (2006-2012), with the number of cycling trips increasing from five thousand to seventy-2000 daily. Seville achieved this by installing a backbone network of nearly 130 kilometers of protected cycle lanes (cycle tracks) through the entire city and implementing a bicycle share program with 2,500 bicycles and 258 stations in a dense bike share network all over the city. Paris, Buenos Aires, and Montreal have experienced similarly rapid increases in cycling through investments in low-stress networks of cycling infrastructure and big-scale bike sharing schemes.”
Senator Janet Rice, a long-time advocate of electric assist bike, thinks we must be pushing more cycling to get a mode be part of Australia even more compared to HSC overall average of 22 percent. “My general guideline for what we must be aiming for in Australian cities is certainly one third walking and cycling, a third public transport and another third private car use,” she says. “I believe that’s eminently achievable and would meet all of our transport needs.
“If we did have a mixture of a third walking and cycling, one third public transport powered by renewable energy then one third private vehicles powered by sustainable energy we could arrive. The critical thing to state is ‘This is how we’re heading for’ and set out the plan to make it happen and seriously implement it. It really means giving priority to walking cycling and public transport.”