Using public transport can dramatically reduce the CO2 pollution involved in getting you from A to B, especially if you are a regular commuter to work or university. By cutting 15km of solo car travel a day, or a bit over 100km a week, you can cut 1 tonne of CO2 pollution in a year. This is an easy way to cut C02 pollution and all you really need is a bit of planning and a good book for the journey!
Here's how to start:
1. Always think about public transport as your first option for getting from A to B, whether it's just a local trip or for longer-distance journeys such as inter-city ones. (For example, weigh up the costs and time of flying including getting to and from airports against train options.)
2. If you don't already know about public transport options such as buses, trains and ferries for the journeys you make regularly, then do some research on routes and timetables to find out. Google Maps offer a great route planner and they can give you options for buses, trains and walking or check out if your city has its own transport timetable app, most do!
3. Look hard at the dollar costs of car trips you make, especially solo trips, and weigh up key operating costs such as fuel, parking and vehicle wear and tear. Often avoiding car use will be cheaper and better time-wise as well as environmentally. This will motivate you even more!
CARBON SAVING TIP: For this activity there will still be CO2 pollution associated with using public transport, although this could vary greatly between different modes (i.e. bus, train, ferry etc) and fuel types used. So, it's good to target additional activities as well as using public transport to ensure that you are balancing it out.
NOTE: The core carbon calculation used for this action is 1kg of CO2 pollution avoided per 5km of solo car travel reduced in a medium-sized vehicle i.e. 100km a week (20kg) X 52 weeks = 1040kg per annum. This is a quite conservative number based on a commonly used calculation that reducing 3700 kilometres a year of travel in a medium-sized vehicle (getting 100km per 11 litres of fuel) will deliver 1 tonne of emission reduction (in this case the saving would be about 1.35kg per 5km).
Why it's important:
For most of us the convenience of jumping in our car and going wherever we want is hugely appealing, although in practice it's not always so easy in traffic-jammed cities, it's often expensive, and it is extremely polluting. This obviously varies from place to place and there are some areas where driving may be your only option, in these places make sure you're carpooling so that you minimise the amount of cars on the road.
In the United States, transportation accounts for 29 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. According to The Guardian, transport makes up 18% of all greenhouse gas pollution in Australia and nearly 87% of Australian commuters travel to work by car. This is exponential, especially when many of us can utilise the public transport at our disposal. So until governments make a change and create better transport policies, try taking matters into your own hands and cutting down on car travel for at least 5km a week! Even this will make a big difference, especially if you encourage your friends to do it too.