Magazine article Geographical

Transportation: International Trade, Travel and a Growing Dependence on Motor Vehicles Make Transportation One of the Main Sources of Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Magazine article Geographical

Transportation: International Trade, Travel and a Growing Dependence on Motor Vehicles Make Transportation One of the Main Sources of Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Article excerpt

Passenger car and truck travel, shipping, and air traffic are all increasing. Worldwide, the transport sector emitted 36 per cent more greenhouse gases in 2000 than in 1990.

The growing mobility of both goods and people is the primary force behind this increase. International trade adds significantly to the greenhouse gas emissions associated with a consumer lifestyle. In addition, urban sprawl and affluence are encouraging more people to purchase cars and motorbikes.

Air travel, once accessible only to the wealthy, has become more affordable to many. Passenger miles have been increasing steadily and are expected to soar in the next decade. Emissions from international shipping and from aircraft aren't attributed to individual nations under the Kyoto Protocol, and there is no target for their reduction.

Since the 1950s, many nations have become committed to road-based transportation, which is generally less fuel efficient than either rail or shipping. In the USA, 92 per cent of households own at least one car, and vehicle miles increased by 3.6 per cent annually between 1984 and 2001, making transportation the second largest contributor to the USA's total greenhouse gas emissions. …

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