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Cars & Climate Change

Why investing in public transportation is essential to the fight against climate change




What is climate change


Climate change is currently a huge topic being circulated in society. It refers to the shift in the earth's temperature and weather as a result of both natural and unnatural occurrences. Specifically, what our actions as humans are having on our world that we live in, and what conditions we will leave it in for future generations. Climate change and human activities are two things that are commonly linked when referring to climate change. Recently, we have been seeing the effects of climate change on our world, such as warmer weather which as a result is melting glaciers and ice caps, furthermore, increasing the oceans sea levels. There are more droughts and dry spells for longer periods of time in more and more countries, which leads to an increase in the amount of wildfires in certain countries and many more.


The automotive industry and climate change


So, how does the automotive industry play a role in climate change? An estimated of 36.2 Million British households in the UK own at least one car and, of that 25.7 Million British households are owners of two or more vehicles. Most cars that aren't electric produce carbon dioxide emissions which is a form of greenhouse gas that is a cause of global warming / climate change. The average petrol car in the UK produces 180g of CO2 per Kilometre. Now, imagine how much gases are released into our atmosphere with that amount of cars on the road.


Additionally, due to high volumes of cars there is more traffic on our roads which results in many of our cars sitting in idle, with fumes pouring out pointlessly.


The automotive industry and the government have acknowledged this problem and have been attempting and implementing different things in order to reduce CO2 emissions in their industry. Some of these being, introduction of Ultra Low Emission Zones where certain areas of cities aren't able to be accessed by highly emitting vehicles, without paying a fine. Which in turn resulted in car manufacturers introducing and producing more lower emitting emission vehicles as well as hybrid and electric cars and even introducing rev limiters which deny cars of fully revving their vehicle while stationary. However, although this does help, car manufacturers still produce tons of greenhouse gases in their factories to manufacture these cars.


Public transport and climate change


A great way to limit climate change and its effects is to focus and invest in the United Kingdom's forms of public transport. Public transport is a sector which allows multiple people to share a form of transport to get to the same destinations such as trains, buses, trams etc. Currently, the public transport in the UK is a highly viable mode of transportation but has many drawbacks that lead to the public steering clear from them. In regards to public buses, the government have done well to introduce electric powered buses and taxi services however, these are often crowded and a slow form of transport and can be expensive particularly, the taxi services around London. This is similar with trains, like the underground being extremely populated during peak times pushing people away from public transport.


The government should look into investing money to increase capacity of public transport and also sanitation of these services as many see public transport as dirty and unclean.


In London, we saw the introduction of electric bikes around the city for people to use, however, people rarely are seen using these as they find it scary and unsafe to be riding around the streets of London. Government should look into more laws and measures to ensure the safety of these cyclists such as more cycle lanes and enforcement to stop cars from entering them.


In conclusion, I believe investments in public transport is a small but detrimental step in our fight against climate change and keeping our earth clean and a sustainable place for future generations. Car pollution is currently decreasing with the introduction of laws and electric cars. But it's not enough. We must work together and take sacrifices in this fight. With a increase in quality and capacity of public transport I strongly believe it will lead to a decrease in daily vehicle emissions. Even a simple investment in the marketing of our public transport will lead to an increase of public transport users for their short journeys.


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