Walking and cycling are not even mentioned as part of a solution to tackle transport-related climate change emissions in the Climate Change Advisory Council’s first report published last week.
The report said: “Progress in tackling transport emissions has been very limited. While an appropriate price signal is needed, many other supporting measures will also be essential to address the factors that influence transport choices.”
But it only mentions taxation, possable improved public transport and electrification of transport. Cycling and walking are not referred to directly once in the report, nor are replacement terms such as ‘sustainable transport’ or policy names such as ‘Smarter Travel’.
Eamon Ryan TD, the leader of the Green Party, said: “ The report correctly points out that we are off track for meeting our 2020 targets and that this puts us off track for our 2050 objective of decarbonising the economy… However, the report proposes only marginal or incremental changes and doesn’t get to grips with the challenge of a fundamental transition to a low-carbon economy.
He added: “Its discussion of transport only scratches the surface with some comments on taxation of transport. Only a few weeks after UN Environment Programme’s report calling for at least 20% of transport investment to go to walking and cycling, the Advisory Council’s report make no mention of either mode.”
“The gaps in the report are evident from a quick word check of the document; the following are missing: demand, walking, cycling, rail, bus, aviation…”
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This report is good in that it is evidence based originating from independent experts. Indeed it is pretty weak in specific recommendations with “progress in tackling transport emissions has been very limited”. The government are still not anywhere near in meeting the challenges posed when they seem to want to continue business as usual in case they upset the voters.
The impacts of climate change are only going to get worse. Inaction in addressing current transport and agricultural failings are only putting off much greater problems for people.
Rebalancing the transport budget to favour walking, cycling and public transport could be a start in the right direction on the ever increasing emissions. The report lays out the facts, now it’s time for some action.