Reduce CO2: cycle more

New study reveals untapped potential of cycling as a means to cut transport’s greenhouse gas emissions.

The European Cyclists’ Federation has today released a report which shows the emissions savings cycling makes compared with other modes of transport. Even taking into account the production, maintenance and fuel [food] related to bicycle use, emissions from cycling were over ten times lower than those stemming from the private motorcar.

EU wide reductions of greenhouse gas emissions (GHS) are under scrutiny by many critics as the progress and actual results seem to fall short of the goals set by the EU this year. Recent reports affirm that the EU will not achieve the reduction of transport emissions by 60 percent between 1990 and 2050 through technology alone.

Comparing cars, buses, bikes and electric bikes, ECF investigated how cycling could help the EU achieve its 2050 GHG reduction targets for transport. According to the study, if EU citizens were to cycle as much as the Danes in 2000 – an average of just 2.6km a day – it would help the EU meet more than a quarter of the targeted emission reductions for the transport sector.

“Cycle 5kms a day and we reach 50 percent of the target,” said Benoit Blondel, ECF’s environment and health policy officer, and author of the report.

He added: “The potential for cycling to achieve these targets is huge, and with such little effort. Getting more people on bikes is going to be a lot cheaper than, say, getting more electric cars on the road.

“If we’re serious about meeting these targets we’re going to have to change our behaviour. It’s not about moving less. It’s about the way we move, and the transport choices governments make available.”

The report finds that city bicycle-share schemes have the potential to reduce further emissions, considering it is a substitute for motorised transport for 50-75 percent of the users.

With EU crude oil imports at 955 million barrels per year, EU citizens cycling at Danish levels would reduce EU oil importations by close to 10 ten percent.

Pic credit: Amsterdamize

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