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    Transportation In The Era Of Climate Change

    The global transport industry is a significant emitter of greenhouse gases, contributing significantly to climate change. Exploring the difficulties and opportunities that transport presents in the era of climate change is crucial as the world grapples with the urgent need to address the climate challenge. In this article, we look at how the transport industry has changed over the last few years in an attempt to reduce its impact on the environment.

    The Challenge

    According to the European Environment Agency (EEA), the transport sector is responsible for around a quarter of the EU's greenhouse gas emissions, in addition to noise pollution, air pollution and habitat fragmentation. Moreover, the EEA states that it is the only large economic sector to have seen an increase in greenhouse gas emissions since 1990. According to the EEA, between 2000 and 2019 the transport sector saw an increase in demand in the following areas:

    • 20% increase in passenger travel.
    • 86% increase in air travel.
    • 18% increase in road transport.
    • 22% increase in freight transport.

    This state of affairs meant the need to take action, especially since the EU aims to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. As increasing demand for transport services has an indirect impact on carbon emissions, the only solution was to find innovative ways to reduce the environmental impact of transport and encourage people to walk, cycle and use public transport. How has the transport industry responded to these intentions over the last few years and can we expect new innovations?


    In times of climate change, electrification is the most important method to achieve sustainable transport. Electric vehicles have the potential to completely change the way we move, greatly reducing greenhouse gas emissions and our dependence on fossil fuels.

    The fact that electric cars do not emit exhaust gases is one of their biggest advantages. Unlike internal combustion engines, which burn fossil fuels, electric vehicles use battery- or fuel-cell-powered engines that do not directly produce greenhouse gas emissions. They thereby reduce health risks associated with car emissions and improve local air quality, while reducing air pollution.

    The environmental benefits are even greater when electric vehicles are charged using energy from renewable sources. Electric vehicles offer the opportunity to decouple transportation from fossil fuel consumption as the electricity grid becomes cleaner due to the integration of more renewable energy. Switching to vehicles powered by renewable energy further reduces greenhouse gas emissions and helps create a more sustainable energy ecosystem.

    One thing to consider when talking about electrification is charging infrastructure. To allay electric vehicle owners' "range" concerns and give them confidence, governments, private companies and other stakeholders must invest in the development of charging infrastructure. To enable electric vehicles to cover longer distances and daily routes, more charging stations should be located near public places, workplaces, residential areas and along roads. Better charging infrastructure will accelerate the widespread adoption of electric cars and help achieve ambitious decarbonization goals.

    Public Transport

    Public transport is central to achieving sustainable transport because it offers efficient and affordable mobility to more people than a private vehicle. It has the potential to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reduce traffic congestion, which increases fuel consumption. Here's how public transport can help achieve Europe's goal of achieving carbon neutrality:

    Lower Emissions:

    Buses, trams, trains and underground transport can carry more people than individual cars. According to the UN, replacing a private car with public transport can reduce the carbon footprint per person by up to 2.2 tons per year.

    Greater Fuel Savings:

    Vehicles used for public transportation are built for maximum capacity and fuel efficiency. Buses and trains, for example, can accommodate many passengers, which lowers energy and emissions per person. Technological achievements have also contributed to the creation of hybrid and electric buses, reducing fuel consumption and pollution levels.

    Traffic Congestion Reduction:

    Traffic congestion often occurs in cities, which causes us to waste time, use more fuel and emit more pollutants. Congestion can be reduced by encouraging more people to use public transport, which would improve traffic flow and reduce commute times for people using both public transport and private cars.

    Moving With Muscle Power

    By human-powered transport, or active transport, we understand walking, cycling or running. Active transport has many benefits for people, communities and the environment when it is promoted and prioritized. It produces no emissions and requires no fossil fuels, which improves air quality.

    By human-powered transport, or active transport, we understand walking, cycling or running. Active transport has many benefits for people, communities and the environment when it is promoted and prioritized. It produces no emissions and requires no fossil fuels, which improves air quality.

    Moreover, moving using human muscles means improving public health. Obesity, heart disease and diabetes are just some of the chronic diseases that can be avoided by walking or cycling regularly. Popularizing active ways of commuting to work as a regular habit can help overcome sedentary lifestyles, increase cardiovascular fitness and improve community health. Active transport is better for the environment, better for your health and better for your wallet.

    Use Of Alternative Fuels

    While we can talk about electrification being a success, unfortunately it is not the right solution for every type or context of transportation. The aviation and maritime industries, for example, face challenges related to electrification, such as the required power density and range, or insufficient infrastructure. Ammonia is considered an ideal alternative fuel for marine applications and can be used as a direct replacement for fossil fuels on ships. It is produced using renewable energy sources in a process called green ammonia production - a carbon neutral fuel.

    Other types of alternative fuels used include biofuels, hydrogen fuel cells and synthetic fuels. Biofuels are produced from biomass such as plant residues, algae or waste materials. Biofuels can replace or be used in combination with traditional fuels, reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

    Some alternative fuels can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but the ultimate goal should be to adopt zero-emission fuels. This would include the production of hydrogen from renewable sources and the development of cutting-edge technologies such as carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) and direct air capture to ensure that the process of producing alternative fuels does not create significant emissions.


    Since the early 2000s, we have made significant progress in trying to reduce humanity's impact on the planet through transportation. Numerous innovations have made it possible to present new technologies on the market, and we can only expect their further development in the future. However, some infrastructure changes may be necessary to accommodate the most effective innovations that we don't know about yet. However, we already know that we are heading in the right direction, as more and more people are aware of their carbon footprint and make more sustainable choices in their everyday lives.