Public Transport insures against Emissions Impact
Media advisory from the Bus and Coach Association
15 July 2008
Public Transport is Insurance against Emissions Trading Impacts
Town planners should take note that investment in public transport is a highly effective tool for insulating against carbon costs, says an international expert on sustainable land transport.
Professor John Stanley of the University of Sydney was speaking yesterday (14 July 2008) at the New Zealand Bus and Coach Association (BCA) conference in Invercargill.
"Increased investment in public transport is certainly the best insurance against any future impacts of emissions trading. Authorities need to work together to introduce good public transport for all socio-economic groups and to create walking and cycling friendly urban areas."
He told the 300 conference-goers that car use was a main greenhouse gas emitter so even small moves to encourage people to take either public transport or active (walking, cycling) transport could make a real difference.
In Australasia, transport is the 3rd largest sector (behind agriculture and stationary energy) and 2nd fastest growing sector (behind stationary energy) for greenhouse gas emissions.
In turn, 88 percent of transport emissions came from road transport, with the main culprit being the car: cars generate about 60 percent of the road transport emissions. In comparison, buses only generate about 3 percent.
Professor Stanley said reaching a target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to below the year 2000 levels by the year 2020 could realistically be achieved through a mind-shift away from intense car use.
But the onus was on central, regional and local authorities to improve land-use planning and public transport to make it easy for people to leave the car in the garage.
Raewyn Bleakley, Chief Executive Officer of the Bus and Coach Association, said that many people were probably not aware that cars contributed such a large percentage of overall carbon emissions.
"Urban transport needs to shift away from private car use and hopefully information of the type Professor Stanley shared today will provide some impetus to officials to increase investment in public transport in New Zealand."