Climate change is the biggest threat to humanity and other living beings inhabiting our beautiful Earth. Year after year we see reports from different global organisations and news from around the world attesting to the present and future impacts of climate change to our livelihoods, health and well-being; and to the devastating consequences it is having over Nature. As time passes by, the urgency of reducing green house gases emissions (GHG) grows, still it is alarming to see that humanity is not stepping up to the challenge with the commitment and the resources that are necessary. Some scientists even consider that if we do not act NOW, and we go over the 1.5oC tipping point, climate change will soon be a runaway train.
In order to limit global warming to 1.5oC, scientific models predict the we need for a 45% C02 emission reduction by 2030, reaching a net zero by 2050 (IPCC, 2018). Decarbonisation, that is decoupling development and economic growth from intensive use of fossil energy use, is, hence, the most important societal process that humanity needs to put in place to avoid disaster. Decarbonisation, as such implies the design and implementation of deeply seeded changes in social behaviour and technological choice.
Worldwide, it is estimated that transport contributes to 23% of CO2 emissions from fuel combustion, and road transport was responsible for 20%. Since the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) came into force in 1994, global green house (GHG) emissions have continued to increase. In some case, like India and China, total GHG emissions are still increasing, and in some cases, like Europe, they are decreasing. Still, even in those regions were total GHG emissions have fallen, emissions from transport have continued to increase, and for a number of reasons. If we are to aim to stay under the 2oC threshold, let alone 1.5oC, and save our way of civilisation and Nature, transport decarbonisation is absolutely key. The challenge is, that reducing transport emissions is tricky for a number of reasons or barriers that have to be addressed through steadfast sociopolitical change and technological innovation.
Cities and urban settlements around the world function on a socio-economic system based on a linear concept of take-use-dispose model. This system is totally unsustainable and has to change and follow a circular economy model. A circular economy is characterised as an economy that is restorative and regenerative by design and aims to keep products, components, and materials at their highest utility and value at all times, whilst distinguishing between technical and biological cycles. It is conceived as a continuous positive development cycle that preserves and enhances natural capital, optimises resources yields and minimises system risk by managing finite stocks and renewable flows.
Generally speaking, citizens around the world frequently do not find a clear, efficient and viable entry-point to engage, in an informed and coherent manner, in systemic efforts to address climate change and to participate in decarbonisation processes. There is lack of information and knowledge in the hands of common citizens to take informed and positive decisions.