According to the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the deadline for drastically reducing climate-warming pollutants is fast approaching, and cities and transportation agencies will both need to transform drastically over the next decade to avoid the worst effects of a hot climate.
Earlier this month, the IPCC released the third and final volume of its latest Climate Assessment Report. While the first volume synthesized the latest physical science on climate change and an austere second volume examined the severe impacts and disasters already underway from a warming climate, the third volume focuses on what humanity must to reduce climate pollution and limit global warming to 1.5.° at 2° C above 20th century temperatures.
The IPCC offers decision makers a long list of policy ideas that could help society achieve this goal. But progress to date has been so slow and the need to drastically cut emissions so urgent that policymakers will need to adopt most of the report’s recommendations, and in extremely rapid time, while forcefully turning away from industries and fossil energy. – inefficient transport systems.
As the summary of the third volume says:
“Continued large-scale investment in carbon-intensive activities will increase the multitude of risks associated with climate change and hinder societal and industrial transformation towards low-carbon development. Meet the long–term temperature goal in the Paris Agreement therefore implies a rapid transition to an acceleration reduction of greenhouse gases emissions towards “net zero”, which is implaupossible without urgent and ambitious action at all scales.”
Many of the mitigation strategies needed will involve major changes in the way we generate electricity, manage forests and practice agriculture.
But the report also points out that cities and urbanized regions (which include most of Massachusetts) will have to play an important role in eliminating greenhouse gas pollution.
“A range of 5-30% of global annual greenhouse gas emissions from end-use sectors is avoidable by 2050… through changes to the built environment, new and repurposed infrastructure, and the provision of services through citiesthe co-location of jobs and housing, more efficient use of floor space and energy in buildings, and the repurposing of street space for active mobility,” according to the report’s summary at the intent of decision makers.
The report makes the case for increased use of electric vehicles, but the report makes it clear that simply replacing gasoline with batteries won’t be enough: cities must also drastically reduce automobile use and avoid “locking down “future emissions by building more car-dependent vehicles. Infrastructure.
An entire chapter of the new report focuses on cities and urban development, while another chapter focuses on the transport sector. These two chapters offer many marching orders to city officials and transit agencies like MassDOT:
- “The there is a growing need for systemic infrastructure changes that enable changes and reductions in the demand for transport services which may in turn reduce the demand for energy” (10-4)
- “Cities are particularly prone to carbon lock-in–due to multiple interactions of technologies, institutionsand behavioral systems, which create inertia and path addiction hard to break. For example, the lock–gasoline-powered cars is enhanced by Highway and even more locked down energy infrastructure–based on social and cultural preferences for possibilities of individual mobility. dominance cars and their automotive support infrastructure–central urban forms are further reinforced by zoning and urban development schemes, such as–density housing away from jobs, which creates barriers to create an alternative crowdsecurity options” (8-54)
- “Cities can reduce their transport–fuel consumption associated with aaround 25% thanks to more compact soil combinations less car use and availability–dependent transport infrastructure. Adapted infrastructure, including protected pedestrians and bicycle tracks, can also support much larger localized active trips(10-4).
- “Infrastructure investments influence structural dependence on the automobile, which in turn influence the lock–in or the path dependency of transportation options with their greenhouse gas emissions. The 21st century has seen a new trend towards peak car use in some countries due to an upturn in the use of walking and public transport… there is an increased need investments in urban form strategies that can continue to reduce–addiction in the world” (10-15)
- “How the new cities and cities are designed, built, managed, and powered locks–in behavior, lifestyles, and future urban greenhouse gas emissions” (8-4)
- “Integrated land use planning to obtain compact spaces and resources–efficient urban growth through co-Ilocation of higher residential and employment densities, mixed land use and public transit–oriented development could reduce greenhouse gas emissions between 23–26% by 2050 vs. enterprise–as–usual script (strong evidence, high agreement, very high confidence)” (8-6)