Robert Graves and Didier Madoc-Jones, aerial photograph Jason Hawkes
2016 is predicted to be the warmest year since records began. Regardless of Climate change denial or more accurately Climate Change deception from some unscrupulous quarters, most people are waking up to global warming crisis and realising that urgent action is required.
2014 saw the initiation of emergency car bans to cut toxic air pollution in Paris, where odd and even number plates were banned on consecutive days. The successful reduction in Paris’s air pollution encouraged Athens, Milan, Delhi, Rome, Mexico City, Beijing, Madrid to follow with their own car bans in 2015, as suffocating air pollution reached frightening levels.
In Paris in September 2015, leading up to COP21, Mayor Anne Hildago chose a car-free day to emphasise how cities around the world can cut both their carbon and air pollution emissions by reducing reliance on motor vehicles and encouraging walking, cycling and Public Transport. She is now Chair of the C40 and Sadiq Khan is Vice-chair.
Aviation and motor vehicles are major contributors to greenhouse gases. One return flight from London to New York uses up your entire personal carbon emissions for the year. Meanwhile cars are the fastest growing contributor to carbon emissions in the world.
In 2010 when the Icelandic Volcano erupted and flights in Europe were grounded for a week, there was a reduction of 2.8 million tons of carbon released into the atmosphere.
In Seoul, a voluntary one day a week car-free day has reduced Carbon Emissions by 10%.
70% of global greenhouse gases come from cities, even though they only make up 2% of global land. If we are to turn around global warming we need to do it in cities. Whilst we transition to cleaner modes of transport and renewable energy, we need to start implementing immediate and regular climate action like city car-free and fly-free Sundays.