At last, we’re approaching the end of 2020, a year we won’t soon forget. The Covid-19 pandemic hit and put the world in lockdown for the better part of the year. Since bad news always seems to overshadow positive news, in this blog we want to do the opposite by highlighting a few positive developments in the transport sector in 2020 in support of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Paris Agreement at 5
December 12, 2020 marked the fifth anniversary of the Paris Climate Agreement. Drafted at COP21 as a response to the climate change threat, the deal set a goal to keep global warming to ‘well below’ 2 degrees and signaled the end of fossil-fuel use and a full transformation to renewable energy. Although many argue that progress on climate action has been slow, momentum has been building. Many cities are striving to be carbon-neutral, and an increasing number of financial institutions are following suit. The following photo shows the difference in share price trends of green energy and oil companies over the past 5 years. Clearly, investors are shifting away from coal.
Largest e-bus fleet in Europe
On December 13, 2020, the Dutch public transport operator Keolis Nederland started operating nearly 250 fully electric BYD buses for public transport in Gelderland and Overijssel provinces. The delivery of this number of buses broke the European record and strengthened the position of the Netherlands as the market leader in electric bus deployment in Europe and the second in the world (behind China). It also produced an exciting new statistic: one in five Dutch public transport buses is a zero-emission vehicle. It seems the ambition of the Dutch Electric Transport Green Deal 2016-2020 to have all buses to be 100% emission-free by 2030 is within reach.
The rise of non-motorised transport
In addition to the Paris Agreement, the Covid-19 pandemic has also created positive change to steer the economy away from carbon. Physical distancing to reduce infection rates has made cycling extremely popular, especially in Asian and Latin American cities that were very car-oriented before the pandemic. This is certainly the biggest win in the transport sector, considering the struggles that many cities have faced in recent years to promote this climate-friendly mode of transportation. At first, the sudden increase in the number of cyclists could not be accommodated by the almost non-existent cycling infrastructure. Local governments addressed this challenge by providing pop-up bike lanes. Hopefully, this momentum will provide policy makers with a greater awareness of the importance of investing in safe, non-motorised transport infrastructure.
Hopefully these stories will bring you some light and hope in these challenging times. If you have other interesting examples of promising climate news to share, please leave them in the comments section below.
In conclusion, Fimotions wishes you a happy holiday season and a successful 2021!