The Truth on Cycling’s Contribution to Stopping Climate Change
BRUSSELS, Belgium – The EU transport sector alone stands as the single biggest greenhouse gas (GHG) emitting economic sector, exceeding 1990 emission levels by around 20% and accounting for about 25% of all GHG emissions. In the context of the COP24 Conference currently taking place in Katowice, Poland and with the worrisome climate forecasts, it’s time to get to the truth of what cycling is able to contribute to stopping climate change. The European Cyclists Federation (ECF) made that fact very clear recently.
“Achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 through a socially-fair transition in a cost-efficient manner.” According to the ECF this is the key sentence in the European Long-Term Climate Strategy that the European Commission published last week in Brussels. “ECF strongly welcomes this goal, as we see that the commitments made are in keeping with the environmental motivations that a large proportion of the 250 million European cyclists we represent hold.”
Quadrupling modal share of cycling
Next to the 250 million Europeans that cycle, more cyclists are needed to achieve the goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The ECF states that a quadrupling of the modal share of cycling in the EU is needed for that. “This could reduce C02 emissions by 555 million tonnes by 2050. This is roughly equivalent to the C02 emissions of the whole of the UK and Ireland combined for 2015.”
Breaking down ECF’s conclusion on what cycling is able to contribute to stopping climate change, brings the following truth; quadrupling the modal share of cycling means that EU’s total C02 emissions can be reduced by a level that the 71 million inhabitants of the UK and Ireland are responsible for. That’s no small contribution!
Quality of urban living
Next to the contribution cycling is able to offer to stop climate change there’s more that a greatly increased bicycle use brings. ECF argues that it also results in large improvements in the quality of urban living through reducing air pollution, noise and accidents while it also holds health benefits.
The European Commission’s Long-Term Climate Strategy will now be discussed at a Member States Council Meeting in December 2018 who will have to develop Draft National Energy and Climate Plans by the end of the year. “There is still time to commit to a shift to cycling,” claims ECF.
‘Putting bicycle industry at core of sustainable development’
By the way, the bicycle industry is also focusing more on its ability to contribute to stopping climate change. For instance at the 2nd World Cycling Forum which takes place on 4 and 5 June, 2019 in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Main theme of this 2-day International Conference for the cycling industries’ top management is “Putting the Bicycle Industry at the Core of Sustainable Development”.