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Wednesday 4 January 2023

Just one ‘car free’ day per week enough to meet COP26 goals

New data shows that if drivers left the car at home for just one day per week, emission reduction targets for 2023 could be reached.

  • Not driving for one day per week (includes commute, leisure, and education), would eliminate emissions target gap for 2023.
  • Taking the bus, train, or walking, or cycling could help reach emissions targets.
  • Every journey made by rail instead of by a diesel or petrol vehicle creates 76% less carbon dioxide.

If drivers in Birmingham, Shropshire, and Leicester swapped their car for public transport or active travel (walking or cycling) – emissions targets established at COP26 could be met for the respective regions. This accounts for commuting, leisure, and education trips.

Car journeys nationwide are currently generating 43.6m tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year. The emission reductions needed to reach UK COP26 goals are 1.5m tCO2e, and by leaving the car at home one day per week, 6.2m tCO2e could be saved.

This means that if everyone in the UK left the car at home for one day per week, COP26 goals would be met for the next 4 years. This data assumes that each day sees an equivalent amount of driving, and that driving tasks are replaced on the day with carbon-neutral transport, not my moving the tasks to another day.

At COP26, the main target established was to secure a global net-zero of emissions by 2050, and to not let global warming exceed 1.5℃.

Richard Bradley, Head of Strategy at Midlands Connect, commented on the data:

“The main challenge in the transport industry is clear: to decrease reliance on fossil fuel vehicles. Our partners, including councils, are doing a great job in moving transport in this green direction, and we support them wherever we can.

“These figures show what action individuals can take. But alongside that we have a plan to decarbonise transport across the Midlands; with the rollout of EV charging, and better, greener public transport.”

Midlands Connect has a series of plans to improve public transport, particularly rail, across the West and East Midlands. These plans will help build towards net-zero goals, and help people move from road to rail as their first choice for transport. Every journey made by rail instead of by a diesel or petrol vehicle creates 76% less carbon dioxide.

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Email: ciarajagger@midlandsconnect.uk

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