Transportation is responsible for more than 25% of worldwide CO2 emissions.
In most European countries, 80-90 % of passenger transportation is done by car. Around the world, in 2006, 800 million cars accounted for about 47% of the energy used for transportation — energy mostly provided by the burning of fossil fuel releasing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
Driving cars and trucks transporting goods alone account for 75% of all transport CO2 emissions, followed by aviation with 12%. However, some studies suggest that aviation’s overall warming impact is much higher given its emissions of other greenhouse gases as well as differential effects of emissions at different altitudes.
Air transport has grown faster than any other transport mode in recent years. It is predicted to quadruple by 2050 and still rely on the burning of liquid fuels.
If we continue flying and driving at the same rate, transport energy use and CO2 emissions are projected to increase by nearly 50% by 2030 and more than 80% by 2050.
We can cut by 40% the CO2 emissions related to transport below the 2005 levels by:
1. Changing the way we are moving towards more efficiency by using public transport modes (rail, buses, electric and non-electric bikes, ...).
2. Adopting new vehicle technologies and fuels (hybrid and pure electric cars, hydrogen and biofuels, ...).
Did you know that...
... Even at half or one third capacity, buses typically use far less fuel per passenger-kilometre than cars.
... Europe has the highest number of high-speed rail lines in the world, with 17'578 km of tracks existing and planned.
... Using public transportation is less expensive than owning a car used by a driver alone.
And in practice?
Is it sunny today? Pack your working clothes and gear in your bag and go to work by bike! It will keep you fit, and you will avoid getting stuck in traffic.
The sun is not out? Jump on the bus, tram, metro, and enjoy starting your day by reading a few pages of your book or reading the news. And if you really need to use your car, what about picking up your colleagues on the way and carsharing with them?
The majority of the European capital cities are connected by night trains. You can book a very comfortable sleeper compartment only for yourself, you and your other half, or your whole family. More expensive than flying? Not if you book well in advance, same as flights. Think also that the nights you spend sleeping and travelling on a train are as many hotel nights you don't have to book.
If you really cannot avoid flying, you can always compensate part of the CO2 emissions linked to your trip.
- International Energy Agency (IAE) report "Transports, Energy and CO2", 2009.
- Statistical Office of the European Union, Eurostat, passenger transport statistics, 2016.