- Category: Politics
13 Aug 2012
- Published on Monday, 13 August 2012 11:17
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With transportation being the fastest growing source of global greenhouse gas emissions, financial commitments made at the Rio+20 for more sustainable transportation in the coming decade will play a vital role in reducing emissions overall, according to a report from the Worldwatch Institute.
The eight largest multilateral development banks pledged in the conference to commit 500 staff and to dedicate $175 billion for the use of more sustainable transportation in the coming decade, with the cooperation of 68 other banks, civil society organizations, U.N. agencies and research and industry organizations.
The funding will attempt to offset the expected 300 percent increase in transportation emissions by 2050, as it already contributes to approximately 80 percent of the harmful air pollutants hat result in 1.3 million premature deaths annually, as indicated by the report.
“This action promises to begin countering decades of unsustainable investments in transportation systems, such as building high-capacity motorways,” said Michael Renner, a co-author of the report. “But it will require new resources for civil society groups to be able to ensure independent monitoring of impacts and follow-through by M.D.B.’s [multilateral development banks].”
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The report also estimates that without changes in policy, 2 billion to 3 billion cars will be on the world’s roads by 2050 – contributing to the increase in emissions – in comparison to today’s 800 million cars. “If transportation investments and management policies foster walking, cycling, use of high quality public transportation, and smart traffic management, growing urbanization can reduce consumption of scarce resources, protect public health, and deliver happier, nicer cities,” said Michael Replogle, also a co-author of the report.
They also suggest that today’s transportation and land development patterns are disadvantageous to the poor, often forcing them to choose between low incomes in informal-sector employment that is close to affordable housing, or somewhat higher-paying jobs that are reachable only if they spend a large share of their income and hours each day commuting.
“In many cities, the urban poor cannot afford public transportation and end up walking long distances. Additionally, in many places it is unsafe to walk. In Surabaya, Indonesia, for example, 60 percent of roads have no usable sidewalks,” the report said.
The report though says that these consequences are not inevitable results of urbanization and development, but rather more of a need for more sustainable transport systems.
“Experience in some cities show that in comparison to a business-as-usual rapid motorization strategy, sustainable transport strategies can address rising mobility needs that accompany increases in population, employment, and trade at a lower cost overall, with more job creation and fewer adverse impacts,” says another co-author Colin Hughes.
The report detailed some existing innovations which could be used by other cities pushing for sustainable transport – a 54-mile rapid bus transit in Bogota, Colombia, congestion and emission charging in London, and public bicycles in Hangzhou, China.
“Innovations like these can improve travel options for the urban poor while reducing harmful emissions caused by transportation,” the report continued. – EcoSeed Staff