By Alan Fogarty
With COP21 in full swing some facts show how important the negotiations are. The key points from the IPCC Report 2013 are:
- The maximum CO2e emissions permissible to limit climate change to 2 degrees is 820Gt.
- By 2011 the world had already emitted 515 Gt
- The annual rate of emissions is approximately 35Gt, so current tally is (35×4)+515=655Gt
- This means we have 5 years to be zero carbon!
Some suggest that the science behind the IPCC is inaccurate but even if it is out by 50% then we still only have 11 years to become carbon neutral.
We need something radical and time and again transportation has been identified as a significant contributor. Banning the use of cars in major cities around the world where there is a reasonable alternative option such as public transport has got to be an option. Typically 10% of commuters use cars but they fill up the roads blocking buses and cyclists, requiring traffic lights to control their flow. They poison the air with nitrogen dioxide, PM10s and PM2.5s, while generating noise. Less cars means faster journeys for most commuters, safer cycling routes (more cyclists), less maintenance, more natural ventilation, healthier population and less cost to health services.
While my suggestion may be unpalatable to some, the vast majority of city dwellers would benefit from this proposal and it may give the world time to formulate a response.