Reduce up to 700 million tons of carbon pollution if people cycle more

The transportation sector currently accounts for a quarter of all fuel-related greenhouse gas emissions that are warming the planet. Half of those emissions come from passenger cars, and worldwide transportation demand is expected to triple by mid-century.

According to a study published in Communications Earth and Environment on August 18, the world would reduce carbon pollution by nearly 700 million tons per year if people cycled more.

Aiming to decarbonize transport, governments and industry have turned to electric vehicles, with 6.75 million sold in 2021 alone. Vehicle sales are tracked and published each year . However, it is difficult to calculate the production and ownership of bicycles – a vehicle that uses much lower carbon technology.

An international team of researchers has compiled the first global data set on country bicycle ownership and use dating back to the early 1960s, using statistical modeling to fill in any gaps. any information. Thereby, they discovered that from 1962 to 2015, the number of bicycles globally has exceeded that of cars, of which China accounted for nearly two-thirds of the total of more than 123 million bicycles produced in 2015. .

Bicycle ownership rates are generally higher in countries with higher average incomes, but the proportion of journeys made by car is similar, the team said. This shows that a high rate of bicycle ownership does not mean high use of bicycles.

Of the 60 countries included in the dataset, the proportion using bicycles for trips is only 5%. Some countries have low bicycle ownership rates, while others with high bicycle ownership rates, such as the United States, tend to view cycling as a recreational activity rather than a means of transportation. pine.

The team calculated that if people emulated the average Danish cycling journey of 1.6 km per day, the world could reduce around 414 million tonnes of CO2 per year – equivalent to annual emissions. his.

Similarly, cycling 2.6 km every day like people in the Netherlands will reduce 686 million tons of CO2 and bring many health benefits due to more movement and improved air quality.

According to the authors, pro-bicycle policies around the world and the development of infrastructure that enables modal shifts such as those in the Netherlands and Denmark could lead to significant climate and health benefits. This dual benefit requires better bicycle data collection and there is now an urgent need to promote sustainable bicycle use through supportive policy, planning and infrastructure development. .

According to the study’s lead author, Mr. Gang Liu, Professor at the Department of Green Technology at the University of Southern Denmark, the study shows that bicycles play an important role in reducing carbon emissions of transportation. globally in the future.

“Addressing grand challenges requires not only technology-based strategies, such as lightweight design or electrification, but also demand-side strategies, such as new models,” he told AFP. alternative mobility – shared mobility, on-demand mobility and ride sharing – as well as changes in transport modes such as reducing short-distance car use by cycling.”

Source: Tạp chí môi trường & cuộc sống

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