Positive solutions to peak oil and climate change

Transport is a huge consumer of fossil fuels and emitter of carbon dioxide, and is one of the least sustainable aspects of modern society. Whilst we all need to travel, we must all think carefully about how necessary, how far and by what means we travel.

Necessity

In this age of easy and relatively cheap travel, the amount by which we all move about is vast compared with just 50 years ago.
Travel of course brings with it many benefits, but necessity and excess is often divided by a very fine line. Cheap travel is tempting, but cannot be squared with a need to drastically reduce carbon emissions and wean ourselves off oil. Travel does not automatically result in a higher quality of life either.
Method

Some methods of travel produce a lot of carbon dioxide and burn large amounts of oil, whilst others are much more efficient.
This graph shows how far you can go, using different methods of travel, to produce 1kg of carbon dioxide. Planes and cars are extremely inefficient and wasteful, whilst the bicycle, possibly the most efficient machine ever invented, scores very well indeed. Graph showing CO2 travel emissions The two most important actions you can take to reduce your transport carbon footprint are:
  • Treat air travel as a real luxury. For example, a return flight from London to New York will create over 6 tonnes of carbon dioxide per person that's more than the average annual carbon emissions of 50 Ugandans or 2 British people.
  • When it's possible to walk or cycle, do so especially when you would otherwise be using a car. Add up all the small journeys (under 3 miles) that you do in a year and it can add up to a huge amount.
Travelling less can be a good thing

In a hectic modern world it's easy to ignore the beauty of what's around you in your local area, and the importance of slowing down.
Most people are short of time, yet how much is spent travelling in a year? And have you ever added up just how much you spend every year travelling far and near? Cycling and walking can be very enjoyable! In a world needing to drastically cut carbon emissions, and facing shortages of fossil fuels, the time to adjust to a way of life involving less travel is now. By reducing your flights and car journeys you can make a dramatic reduction to your carbon footprint, but by no means should reduce your quality of life.