COP26: Cycling is one of humanity’s greatest hopes for a zero carbon future


Mandatory reading for the great and the good in Glasgow this week as they glide serenely between COP26 meetings in their chauffeured limousines, an open letter from more than 60 organizations across Europe outlines how world leaders should s ” Commit to increasing cycling levels to reduce carbon emissions and achieve global climate goals quickly and efficiently.

Letter on cycling to governments at COP26:

The world needs a lot more bicycles if we are to fight climate change. Without faster and more determined action by governments around the world to reduce carbon emissions from transport, we will condemn present and future generations to a more hostile and much less habitable world.

That is why we urge all governments and leaders attending the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow to commit to significantly increasing the number of people who cycle in their countries. Governments can do this by building more high-quality cycling infrastructure, integrating cycling into public transport, improving road safety, and implementing policies that encourage individuals and businesses to replace car travel with cycling and other modes such as walking and public transport. Promoting and enabling active mobility must be the cornerstone of global, national and local strategies to achieve net zero carbon goals.

Globally, transportation is responsible for 24% of direct CO₂ emissions from fuel combustion. Road vehicles account for almost three quarters of CO₂ emissions from transport, and these numbers are not decreasing. In addition to the unsustainable levels of CO₂ emissions that are destroying the Earth’s climate, road vehicles are polluting our air at unprecedented levels, killing an estimated seven million people worldwide each year.

There is no conceivable way for governments to cut CO₂ emissions fast enough to avoid the worst of the climate crisis without much more cycling

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) special report “Global Warming of 1.5 ° C” identified cycling as a way to ensure a safe and sustainable world for all, now and in the world. to come up. The use of the bicycle produces no emissions and cycling has far-reaching positive socio-economic impacts in addition to a reduction in pollution.

Cycling represents one of humanity’s greatest hopes for a shift towards a zero carbon future. New research shows that life cycle CO₂ emissions are reduced by 14% for each additional bike trip and 62% for each car trip avoided. Switching from a car to a bicycle saves 150 g of CO₂ per kilometer. E-cargo bikes reduce carbon emissions by 90% compared to diesel vans. Swapping the car in town for walking and cycling, even just one day a week, can reduce your carbon footprint by about half a tonne of CO₂ over a year. Creating synergies with other modes of travel such as public transport can significantly improve this potential.

Our world is on fire. We urgently need to take advantage of the solutions offered by the bicycle by radically increasing its use. What we need now is for governments to commit politically and financially to safer, more integrated and equitable cycling for all who live in our countries, cities and regions. We urge all governments and leaders at COP26 to:

  • Declare commitments to significantly increase levels of cycling at home. This can be done by:
  • Promote cycling in all its forms, including cycle tourism, sport cycling, bicycle sharing, going to work or school and for exercise
  • Recognize cycling as a climate solution, establish a clear link between how an increase in bicycle trips and a decrease in private car trips reduce CO₂ emissions
  • Create and fund national cycling strategies and collect cycling data to find out where improvements can be made to infrastructure and usage
  • Focus investments on building safe, high-quality cycling infrastructure and incentives for historically marginalized cycling communities
  • Provide direct incentives for individuals and businesses to switch from cars to bicycles for more of their daily commute
  • Build synergies with public transport and promote combined mobility solutions for a multimodal ecosystem capable of covering all user needs without depending on a private car
  • Collectively commit to a global goal of higher levels of cycling. More cycling in a handful of countries will not be enough to reduce global CO₂ emissions. All countries must contribute, and these efforts must be monitored at the United Nations level.

There is no conceivable way for governments to cut CO₂ emissions fast enough to avoid the worst of the climate crisis without much more cycling. Cycling is one of the best solutions we already have to ensure that our planet is habitable for all generations to come.

Ethical coverage

Not only are we ethical, we campaign for sustainable transport. Sometimes that means protesting until a school gets the denied zebra crossing, or organizing tours to encourage people to get out of their cars, or repairing bikes for free. We also launched Green Transportation Week and helped establish Car Free Day and Twenty’s Plenty to name a few.

We have been campaigning for sustainable transport for over 30 years with the help of people like you. Supporting this work is simple, you just need to take out bicycle breakdown insurance or mobility scooter insurance and we will take care of the rest. We provide an excellent level of coverage while placing concern for the environment at the heart of everything we do.

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