Cycling is ten times more important than electric cars for reaching net-zero cities – The Conversation
Christian Brand March 29, 2021 3.59pm BST
Globally, only one in 50 new cars were fully electric in 2020, and one in 14 in the UK. Sounds impressive, but even if all new cars were electric now, it would still take
15-20 years to replace the world’s fossil fuel car fleet.
The emission savings from replacing all those internal combustion engines with zero-carbon alternatives will not feed in fast enough to make the necessary difference in the time we can spare: the next five years. Tackling the climate and air pollution crises requires curbing all motorised transport, particularly private cars, as quickly as possible. Focusing solely on electric vehicles is slowing down the race to zero emissions.
This is partly because electric cars aren’t truly zero-carbon – mining the raw materials for their batteries, manufacturing them and generating the electricity they run on produces emissions.
Transport is one of the most challenging sectors to decarbonise due to its heavy fossil fuel use and reliance on carbon-intensive infrastructure – such as roads, airports and the vehicles themselves – and the way it embeds car-dependent lifestyles. One way to reduce transport emissions relatively quickly, and potentially globally, is to swap cars for cycling, e-biking and walking – active travel, as it’s called.