Let us put "JOY" in your travel!
There are many ways in which we can use transport whilst keeping our impact on the environment to a minimum. Naturally this includes all forms of non-motorised transport such as cycling, walking and rollerblading, but also some forms of motorised transport are much more sustainable than others, for instance green vehicles such as hybrid and electric cars, and taking the bus or the train rather than the car or the aeroplane.
Currently transport consumes around one quarter of the amount of energy that we use and creates a similar proportion of the total greenhouse gas emissions that are believed to be responsible for global warming and climate change.
However there is more to sustainable transport than that. For sustainable transport to work it must be accessible to all, which means it is affordable. There is little point in providing an extensive bus service without cheap bus fares, as people must be encouraged to use public transport, and it must be safe. This message is getting across to transport companies and is exemplified by the recently launched trans-European iDBUS coach service that connects London with major European hubs and charges low fares whilst maintaining very high standards of passenger safety.
Although there is plenty of awareness concerning sustainable transport and the need to reduce our carbon footprint on the planet, once you start to ask how well we are doing it tends to get a little murky. Although there has been considerable progress on creating greener vehicles, the fact remains that it is expected that worldwide there are likely to be three times as many cars on the roads in 2050 than there are today. Even if these vehicles are considerably greener than today’s, the overall impact is likely to be considerably increased carbon emissions.
Although air transport has a poor reputation for sustainability, its impact on greenhouse emissions is relatively small. Despite the facts that every year around two billion people fly and that 40% of goods (in terms of monetary value) are transported by air, aviation is responsible for only two percent of total carbon emissions. Comparing the major forms of mechanised transport, for every kilometre travelled cars emit around 2 grams of greenhouse gasses, trains around 0.3 grams and aircraft around 0.2 grams. Despite this it is widely recognised that air transport will increase rapidly. It is anticipated that it will at least double over the next decade.
Perhaps a limiting factor will be the size of our oil reserves. Currently we use 85 million barrels of oil a day and according to the major oil producing countries the oil reserve is only 1.4 billion barrels, so even at the current rate of consumption we will run out of oil in less than fifty years. Of course there may be more oil than they are saying, but the principal is the same: eventually we will run out.
This is a guest post by Claire Sim a new Londoner, travel passionate and animal lover. She blogs about Pets and Travelling in Europe. If you want Claire to write you specific content you can send her a direct message or contact her on Twitter (Claire_Sim).