This recent article caught my eye, penned by the EU’s “rapporteur on sustainable urban mobility” – do they have one for unsustainable urban mobility? Or sustainable rural mobility? Or unsustainable rural immobility? Anyway, I digress.
This article highlights how the green agenda is implemented on the back of other perceived ideals.
I’ve copied the text directly, adding my comments in parentheses;
Urban mobility plays a central role in the lives of Europeans [No it doesn’t, many of us live in the country or suburban environments].
It is estimated that cities will be home to nearly 80 per cent of the world’s population by 2050 [OK, but what % of European population? You’re not in charge of the whole world. The figure will be much lower as the global number is skewed by massive conurbations in places like India, Mexico, Brazil etc.],
placing transport at the heart of future EU economic, social, environmental and health issues [yes, transport is important and if this were my job I guess I’d big it up by saying it was the centre of the universe too].
As Europe gears up to host the international climate summit in Paris [Ah, I see where this is going], time is running out – our planet is heating up [No it’s not] irreversibly [No it’s not], and there is no ‘planet B’.
Sustainable mobility is one of the keys to preserving our climate [OK, so you want to conflate mobility – critical to “future EU economic, social, environmental and health issues” with saving the planet?].
Within the union, transport is the only sector whose greenhouse gas emissions have continued to increase since 1990 [Because other sectors have been in decline e.g. crippling energy prices have driven businesses to leave the EU, costing thousands of jobs].
In the urban environment, it represents 25 per cent of all CO2 emissions in Europe [why qualify with “In the urban environment”? Presumably because across Europe as a whole it’s a much smaller %. And while we’re here, do you mean Europe (47 countries) or EU (28 countries)?].
This climate emergency [what climate emergency? Nothing like a bit of hyperbole to get the message across] means we must urgently transition from urban to sustainable mobility [Come again? Mobility in urban areas is urban mobility whether you’re driving a car, riding a bike or rowing along the Thames].
If we want to reach the 2030 emissions objectives we have set ourselves, the EU has no choice but to reverse the trend [Again, are you looking to alter/ regulate/ vilify various transport systems in order to improve urban mobility or simply to satisfy the green agenda. If the best thing for urban mobility/ prosperity meant burning more fuel would you still be in favour?].
According to the UN, by 2050, pollution will be the world’s leading cause of mortality [Quite possibly, the CO2 agenda which has caused governments across the world to encourage diesel power (lower CO2) over gasoline isn’t helping at all – of course people who understood combustion knew this but you people in government didn’t. At the same time driving energy intensive industries out of Europe to parts of the world with much less strict environmental regulation is also a disaster].
While each year we experience more than 400,000 premature deaths due to fine particles given off principally by diesel engines [Doh!], we prefer to closet our fragile populations at home, rather than to act.
With the urban sprawl affecting our European cities, more and more citizens spend a significant portion of their time and income on travel [Time because no-one will invest in new roads, Money because of green levies on fuel, the closure of refineries in Europe and revenue raising taxation].
In this regard, nowadays access to mobility has become a factor giving rise to inequality [OK, we’re back to the more and better transport is good argument now]. While the number of Europeans at risk of falling into poverty and social exclusion is estimated at 25 per cent, mobility is, therefore, more than ever a lever for acting on social inclusion [Domestic fuel pricing due to green levies, lack of work due to EU regulation and bureaucracy stifling business, EU insular ‘naval gazing’ rather than chasing business in the wider world all have a massive impact on poverty and social inclusion too].
In Europe, 38 per cent of deaths due to traffic accidents occur in cities [not surprising given this is where there are large concentrations of both cars and people], and last year the total number of serious injuries on the roads increased by three per cent. We have the means to change this situation.
That is why my report suggests the drawing up of a transport climate package [which came first the CO2 or the car], which will fix ambitious objectives for low-carbon transport.
In terms of urban mobility, it lays the foundations for mobility in a calm, low-carbon town, respectful of its citizens and environment [and who’s paying for all this?].
Because we must support innovation and consider cities in terms of technological advances, it’s time we left behind the private car model. I propose encouraging urban centres to eradicate diesel by 2020 [having spent 20 years promoting it over gasoline] and reduce the use of cars powered by traditional fuels in urban areas by 2030.
I also want the rate of bicycle use in urban areas to double by 2025 [The number of cyclists killed or seriously injured on London’s roads has been increasing for the past 10 years and 75% of fatal or serious cyclist accidents occur in urban areas – but your plan is to put more cyclists on urban roads]
From now on, priority must be given to plans for sustainable urban mobility and clean transport: trams, cableways, bicycles and car-sharing, while actively working on the modal shift and inter-modality. For this reason, I suggest doubling the collective public transport network and its use by 2030 [$$$$$$$$].
To all the sceptics out there, my message is very clear: failure to act will be deadly; only an active policy of innovative and sustainable mobility will give Europe hope for a less polluted future [sorry, I thought this was a plan to improve future EU economic, social and health issues as well as environment, or maybe not].