Welcome to Week 3 of the Carbon Challenge.
First up, let’s take a moment to celebrate the fact that we’re now 50% of the way into the carbon challenge!
We’re super grateful that you’ve chosen to join us on this journey: taking the time to review the choices we make in our day-to-day lives, prioritising the climate, and doing what we can within our power to lessen our personal impact on the environment - that's a big deal.
For week 3 we’re focusing on travel and transport. One of the most effective ways to rethink and reduce your carbon footprint is to consider how much, how often, and actually the way that you choose to travel.
So, let’s start week 3 and see whether there are any small adjustments you can make that will reduce your carbon footprint…
12% of global greenhouse gas emissions come from road transport.
In Australia, transport is the third highest source of emissions and the largest growth sector, representing 17% of greenhouse gases. Civilian cars are responsible for half of Australia’s transport emissions.
88% of Australian households own at least one car and our transport emissions are reportedly 45% higher per capita than the OECD average (Organisations for Economic Co-operation and Development).
What if we switched to public transport?
Travelling by train produces 98% less carbon emissions per kilometre than travelling by car per passenger and yet only 10% of Australian commuters use public transport. The majority of other large global economies utilise public transport services, for example 72% of Chinese commuters travel by train.
We live in a car culture and as populations increase so does congestion and delayed transit times impacting not only air pollution but quality of life, time spent in traffic could be time spent with family.
Only 1 dollar is spent on rail to every 4 dollars spent on roads. For Australia to achieve its commitment of 26-28% emissions reductions by 2030 there has to be systemic Change. There needs to be government investment in public transport infrastructure to ensure accessible, reliable, efficient services. Services that use electric vehicles fuelled by renewable energy sources.
There are small glimmers of hope. Both Melbourne’s trams and Canberra’s Capitol Metro light railway project will soon be powered by renewable energy which offers some hope. To further drive public transport policy there has to be demand. Not only does public transport reduce emissions but it is a more affordable alternative. Why not investigate public transport options to travel to work?
If public transport is not an option, what about electric cars?
Hybrid (vehicles with a combined petrol engine and electric motor) and electric cars powered by renewable energy offer another clean alternative. The US, China, the Netherlands and Norway dominate the electric vehicle market. Approximately one quarter of Norway’s new car sales are electric while in Australia electric car sales only account for 0.8%.
Again, there needs to be government investment in charging infrastructure for electric cars however, for there to be a reduced impact the energy must be from renewable sources and not from Australia’s dominant dirty coal power. Rooftop solar and Greenpower options are available with a significant reduction in cost and emissions. Again, consumer demand will drive market and infrastructure change.
Reduce your carbon footprint and get fit by taking short journeys by bicycle.
The majority of car journeys are short distances and often with only one passenger. These journeys could easily be done on a bicycle.
E-bikes offer a viable and efficient alternative to motorised fossil fuel dependant transport. Reducing carbon impact and improving physical fitness as well as overall wellness. Increased activity can help foster lifestyle and behavioural change for a more balanced mind and body.
E-bikes have the advantage of an electric motor to assist cyclists with a seed of up to 25km/hour. Making them an efficient alternative for longer distances and loads to your average bicycle.
We have seen an escalation in shared mobility devices in urban areas such as electric bikes and scooters recently transitioning from docked to e-mobility using advanced self-locking technology and smartphone connectivity.
Many commuters have resorted to e-bikes in the pandemic to avoid crowded public transport, there has been a significant increase in sales globally. And another advantage to e-bikes is being in control of your own schedule without having to follow a timetable.
Public bicycles offer a solution to urban traffic congestion, pollution and parking access as well as using less energy and space. These shared schemes offer flexibility and affordability.
Sunshine Cycles are offering an exclusive hour free bike hire for our Byron Bay boutique customers this week, use the code ARNHEM so you can experience the benefits yourself. We are very excited to have an Ezeriderz e-bike for our office errands. You too can be the proud owner of an e-bike by entering the Carbon Challenge here.
To support a transition to cycling and walking there needs to be safe, secure and accessible infrastructure. Again, more public demand will drive government policies. In the US the government offer incentives for e-bikes such as tax credits – take note Australia!
Our office invested in an ezriderz E-Bike to use for all of our office errands, lunch runs, and quick trips to the shop in lieu of driving short distances and releasing unnecessary emissions! The winner of the Carbon Challenge will get their very own ezriderz x Arnhem custom bike in the cream colourway.
Carpooling and car sharing offer another solution. According to The Car Next Door every one of their shared cars takes up to 10 other cars off the road while offering an affordable alternative to owning a car.
While in the sky...
Air travel is a significant contributor responsible for 2% global emissions. If air travel were a country it would be in the top 10 most polluting.
According to the International Air Transport Association’s economic assessment there was a reduction of 352.7 MT CO2 from civil aviation in 2020 compared to the previous year demonstrating the huge impact of air travel.
Travel limitations experienced due to the pandemic meant that businesses had to adapt and shift to virtual platforms for meetings meaning less dependency on air travel.
The pandemic has also prevented us from travelling abroad, resulting in more domestic travel. We are blessed to live in a beautiful and diverse country with many climates and landscapes to explore.
And if you're flying for work, or pleasure, wherever possible fly direct, as landings and takeoffs use more fuel and produce more emissions.
Here are 13 tips and tricks to help you reduce your travel & transport carbon emissions:
- If travelling by car keep your tyres inflated, as it helps to reduce emissions by saving you up to 10% in fuel.
- Ensure your service is up to date and your car is running efficiently.
- Use cruise control where possible: maintaining a steady speed gives you fuel efficiency, thus reducing emissions.
- Plan multiple errands on one trip.
- When purchasing a new car compare fuel efficiency, or consider a hybrid or electric car.
- Take public transport where possible and consider taking public transport to work. This has many benefits both financially and also creating time and space to catch up on life admin.
- Investigate bike paths to work or to local cafes and shops.
- If you have a bicycle, consider getting a basket for running small shopping errands.
- Consider domestic travel instead of international travel. Travel by car or chose economy flights; flying business class produces almost twice the emissions and first class is triple by comparison, making economy a greener choice.
- Consider taking the train in place of flying if possible. Train travel reduces emissions by up to 90%.
- Carpool to work or school runs: sharing the load creates big wins all round.
- Consider car sharing schemes such as Car Next Door.
- Walk - it's an easy way to be green, stay active and healthy, and save money!
As you make these positive changes to reduce your environmental impact, share your experience with your friends and family, and invite them to take the Carbon Challenge too – you’ll get an extra 10 points for sharing the challenge – just log back into your account here to be in with a chance to win more than $6,000 worth of earth loving, life enhancing prizes!