Reduction of CO2 Emissions In the Transport Sector
By Eleen Korir
A lot has been written on climate change and actions to combat Global warming. On the other hand, minimal actions have been done or implemented across the globe towards creating sustainable change. In fact in my opinion, there is increased emission of harmful gases as well activities that have brought about undesirable climate change. When I was a child, it was predictable when the rains would come and our parents knew when to prepare land for the planting season. In the recent past, there has been a lot of erratic change, that the planting seasons and the rains are unpredictable- is this emergent phenomenon attributable to climate change? Probably Yes in my opinion…
According to the U.S. Energy and Information Administration (EIA) – In the United States of America, the transportation sector has produced more carbon pollution than any other sector of the economy. These findings are an important wake-up call that highlights the need for urgent action to combat global warming-causing pollution from transportation sources.
According to European Union, Road transport contributes about one-fifth of the EU’s total emissions are carbon dioxide (CO2), the main greenhouse gas. While these emissions fell by 3.3% in 2012, they are still 20.5% higher than in 1990. Transport is the only major sector in the EU where greenhouse gas emissions are still rising.
In Kenya, for example, the has been increased purchase and use of motor vehicles that use fossil fuels, increase in number of factories/industries that contaminate the environment , use of chemicals in farming, deforestation, and lack of proper waste management. All these are contributing factors to pollution and Climate change. But can we do?
Looking at the option of combating global warming through the transport sector is one way to start. Transport across the globe is important for every economy and is a must have. There are different modes of transport and not all of them are harmful to the environment e.g. Electric cars and trains, but the fossil fuels that run these cars and trains are a big source of harmful gases and substances that are detrimental to the environment. What can be done?Increase/advocate for use of efficient cars e.g. Electric vehicles, Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles; Hydrogen fuel cell vehicle; Fuel efficient cars
- Drive Less: Use of alternative transport like bicycles, Scooters, Walking, work from home where possible
- Drive Wise: Go easy on the gas pedal, Have regular service of your car, Avoid idling the car-turn off the engine when you stop!
- Have legislation on Fuel quality which is an important element in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from transport. For example, in the EU, the legislation requires the greenhouse gas intensity of vehicle fuels to be cut by up to 10% by 2020.
- Instead of the locomotive trains, introduce electric trains and expand this to the transport with the city. This will reduce use of personal cars and even the public transport buses. In addition to comparting Co2 emissions, Electric trains are faster.
- Encourage/sensitize people to walk incases of short distances. Most people have become dependent on using cars/motorcycles to a point of using them for short walking distances. This comes with additional benefits of keeping healthy!
- Have car free days: This is a difficult thing to do but it workable with improved transport infrastructure like introduction of electric trains that serve the city, have cycling paths, secure bicycle parking, introduction of bicycle for hire etc.
In conclusion, what part do we play? It may not be possible to implement all of them but one step a time, one person at a time “it starts with me”, will save the earth from global warming. Our governments and relevant institutions on the other side should strive forward in fighting CO2 emissions by implementing/forming regulations that are protective to the environment.