If everyone cycled every day like the Dutch, the world could reduce carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 700 million tonnes each year, equivalent to Canada’s annual emissions. According to a study published in the journal ‘Communications Earth and Environment’.
The transport sector accounts for a quarter of current greenhouse gas emissions, which cause global warming, and global transport demand is expected to triple by the middle of this century.
Half of these emissions now come from cars, whose sales figures are closely tracked, unlike bicycles.
An international team of researchers has compiled the world’s first database of bicycle ownership and use in 60 countries since the early 1960s.
According to these researchers, during the period 1962-2015, the number of bicycles manufactured exceeded that of cars. China accounted for nearly two-thirds of the more than 123 million bicycles produced in 2015.
Leisure bike or utility bike?
In the 60 countries studied, the share of bicycle use for daily trips was only 5% on average. In some countries, such as the United States, the number of bicycles is high, but their owners view cycling as a recreational activity, rather than daily transportation and short trips often made by car.
But if everyone cycled an average of 1.6 kilometers per day, the average daily distance of the Danes, the world would reduce CO2 emissions by 414 million tonnes per year, equivalent to the annual emissions of Great Britain, according to the researchers’ calculations.
Traveling 2.6 kilometers per day by bicycle, as in the Netherlands, could reduce emissions by 686 million tons per year, with health benefits and improved air quality.
Kang Liu, lead author of the study and a professor at the Department of Green Technology at the University of Southern Denmark, told AFP that the main interest of the study was that it showed that cycling plays an important role in reducing the carbon footprint. Transportation – The debate focuses on the electrification of cars.
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