In 2017, 27% of the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions came from the transport sector. The highest contributor of that (71%) was road transport. In addition, road transport is the main cause of air pollution in cities. Worryingly, the trend from the transport sector is going in the wrong direction, with the European Environment Agency reporting that “Greenhouse gas emissions from the EU’s transport increased in 2018 and 2019 and have not followed the EU’s general decreasing emissions trend”.
How can we encourage a fair transition to a more sustainable mix of transport modes? We thought this would be a great question to pose to our readers during EU Mobility Week in the run-up to Car-Free Sunday, which many towns and cities across Europe will be implementing on Sunday 19 September.
Want to learn more about European road transport and its impact on climate change? Check out our infographic below (click for a bigger version):
We’re continuing our series on the European Climate Pact, an EU-wide initiative inviting people, communities and organisations to participate in climate action and build a greener Europe. We will invite scientists, campaigners, activists, European Climate Pact Ambassadors, mayors, politicians and others to take part in our debates and discuss how we can all make a difference.
In the video at the top of this post, we’ve taken a comment from a focus group we ran with Laura from Italy, who pointed out to us that not everyone has the same mobility needs:
I would say that it’s kind of unfair to have this pressure [to change our behaviour], because not everyone has the same needs. Like, if you live in the countryside it’s harder to give up a car than if you live in a big city. So, it’s not fair.
We also picked two comments from readers on our website, including from Francoise who think public transport should be free for everyone (as it is in Luxembourg); and from Xavier, who thinks all European cities should introduce congestion charges.
To get some reactions, we put this mix of comments and questions to Małgorzata Tracz, a Polish MP and Co-Leader of The Greens (the Polish green party), and George Marshall, Founding Director of Climate Outreach and author of the book Don’t Even Think About It: Why our Brains Are Wired to Ignore Climate Change. You can see how they responded in the video at the top of the post.
Do you want to get involved? Sign up to the European Climate Pact and pledge to take practical steps to help reduce carbon pollution on our planet.
What do YOU think? What would encourage you to drive less and use other modes of transport more, such as public transport or cycling? Should all European cities introduce congestion charges? Why not make public transport free for everyone? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!
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