Sustainable transport solutions
Transport is a major contributor to climate change. Transporting people and freight by road, sea and air contributes about one quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions. From a climate perspective, the transport sector is out of control – it is the fastest growing source of greenhouse emissions, increasing at well over 2% a year. If this continues it will result in a doubling of transport emissions in less than 30 years with huge consequences for climate change and oil supplies. This growth results from more and more people driving cars and flying, along with the increasing use of trucks to carry freight instead of more fuel efficient rail and sea transport.
We need to reduce the climate changing impacts of car use. To do this will require changes in our behaviour as well as changes in car technology. The first thing is to drive less, the second is to practice fuel efficient driving.
Public transport is a far more efficient mode of personal transport than a private vehicle. Benefits to the environment include less emissions and pollution, less energy use and less need to occupy and pave land for roading and parking spaces. If public transport isn’t available or convenient then think about car-pooling.
Walk or cycle – if you can. Cycling in New Zealand is popular, safe, healthy and enjoyable. When it replaces other forms of transport (commuting to work for instance) it also reduces the emission of greenhouse gases. With the price of fossil fuels on a continuous trend upwards cycling makes financial sense as well.
When you need a new car purchase the most fuel efficient model that meets your needs and budget. It’s well worth checking the fuel consumption figures or ratings of the cars you may be thinking of buying. Read more about diesel cars, hybrid cars, electric cars and fuel cell cars.
Biofuels are made from renewable sources or as the byproduct of waste streams. Since biofuels are not ‘clean’, they utilise land that could be used for food crops and for other impacts such as deforestation, soil erosion, water resources there is plenty of debate about the efficacy of biofuels.
Not all freight is equal because different transport methods create relatively more greenhouse gases than others. Air freight is much worse than sea freight. Road freight is much worse that rail freight. Choosing and asking for more eco-friendly freight methods will reduce emissions.