Attributed to Lisa Conibear, Global Commercial Director, Zoomo
We were pleased to hear that industry decarbonisation is top of the agenda at COP 27 this year. For years, we’ve been championing decarbonisation of the transport sector and it often feels like it has fallen on deaf ears. With transport being one of the largest emitting sectors contributing to global greenhouse gas emissions, we simply cannot afford to stay silent.
The transport sector is one thing, but the real problem lies in freight transportation - a sector that makes up 8 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Road vehicles like trucks and vans make up a whopping 62 percent of these freight emissions. When you take into account the increased demand for urban last-mile delivery, which is expected to grow by 78 percent between 2020 and 2030, we can see that this is an issue that will only worsen over time.
For too long, the solution to curb emissions in the freight transport sector has been focused on incentives and rebates for large electric vehicles, like electric cars and vans. These ‘solutions’ have failed to recognise light electric vehicles (e-bikes, e-cargo bikes), despite their outsized impact on both emissions and cost savings.
Electric cars, trucks and vans don't emit any CO2 at the tailpipe but they do however use electricity to power their batteries. The significant energy requirement is due to the weight of the vehicle and the battery. The energy source for the battery charging will be dependent on your local power generation, but most of the source is the burning of fossil fuels. The more we move to renewable sources of power the better, but at the moment we are moving the emissions from the vehicle to the power plant.
There is another option, which is to move away from large vehicles that require heavy batteries. E-bikes and cargo bikes are exciting and viable alternatives. We have seen that e-bikes and cargo bikes can effectively replace vans and trucks in cities. Because these vehicles are so much lighter they only require small amounts of energy. These vehicles are also partly powered by the cyclist, meaning that we are reducing emissions even further - to the point where emissions are almost inconsequential.
Our hope is that government and business leaders use COP 27 to put the right policies in place to cut CO2 emissions in the transport sector, specifically when it comes to freight, by taking into account innovative technologies like light electric vehicles.
Policies such as bike loan-schemes, e-bike rebates, congestion pricing, improved cycling infrastructure, low-emission vehicle mandates and general awareness raising campaigns are all practical solutions that will encourage freight and logistics businesses to make the shift away from gas-guzzling vehicles, and could prove to have a momentous impact on our environment.
Now is the time to take a serious look at how goods are moved around our cities, because quite frankly, if we continue business as usual, emissions from freight transportation will become one of the biggest blockers in helping reach global climate goals.