Travel Doesnt Have to Cost the Earth

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A Socialist Project e-bulletin ... No. 1991 ... February 4, 2020
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Travel Doesn’t Have to Cost the Earth:
Five Concrete Steps Toward a Climate-Smart and Fair Transport Sector in Stockholm

Planka

The climate threat is the most fatal problem humanity has ever faced.

In 2009, the current Kyoto protocol will be replaced with a new international climate agreement, a process in which the EU must be one of the main drivers. As holder of the EU presidency, Sweden will play a key role when world leaders gather to sign the new agreement. Does the Swedish government deserve such a pivotal role? -- We don’t think so.

The politicians take pride in demands for one abstract percentage target after the other, but that’s not good enough. The figures need to be followed by concrete steps, and in that respect today’s politicians are completely paralyzed.

In Sweden, the transport sector is the main climate culprit, being responsible for more than 40 per cent of our climate impacting emissions. Contrary to common assertions, Sweden has in fact not reduced its emissions at all, since the entire... transport sector is generally excluded in statistics. On the contrary, the transport sector is the only sector with constantly increasing emissions. Road traffic is the biggest scoundrel; since 1990 it has increased its emissions with no less than 12 per cent.

A powerful climate adjustment requires substantial infrastructural changes in the transport sector. The key to climate adjustment is to be found in the cities, which are responsible for the biggest emissions. Through simple reforms -- e.g. planning the cities for public, bicycle and pedestrian transport -- we can drive away the cars from our cities.

In the countryside, it is harder to change the transport systems. All the more important then to take powerful steps in the cities, where it is considerably easier to implement comprehensive changes. All too often the countryside is used as a weapon against progressive traffic reforms; the caricature being the single mom with 20 kilometres to the nearest day-care centre, unable to solve her "life puzzle" without a car. However, the reality is completely different. The majority of the motorists are men. They live in big cities and they travel without a infant seat beside them; their only co-passenger is a brief-case. Moreover, despite the problems involved, many rural districts have in fact increased their climate-friendly public transports.

This report from Planka.nu is an effort to lay out a way forward. We use Stockholm as an example, but climate adjustment is, of course, necessary everywhere. Below every headline we list concrete proposals for diminishing climate-hazardous emissions through investments in modern, fair and climate-smart city planning. The responsibility for putting these solutions on the political agenda lies with us in the climate movement.

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