Fighting for carbon neutrality is difficult but not impossible

2 minutes to read
2023.05.04. 11:43

The greenhouse gases, which are increasingly produced in large amounts, cause serious damage to our planet: the excessive emission of CO2 results in extreme weather conditions, floods, droughts, and rising sea levels. Such catastrophic events are all phenomena of global warming that not only endanger human life but also threaten wildlife. The solution lies in sustainable efforts that have been developed for decades, with transportation, more specifically urban mobility, being one of the focus areas. 

According to the European Parliament report on greenhouse gas emissions, carbon dioxide (CO2) accounts for the largest share, 81.2%, which is typically caused by human activities. In 2019, the energy sector was responsible for 77.01% of emissions, about one-third of which is made up of transportation. Urban mobility, namely passenger cars and light commercial vehicles are responsible for about 15% of the EU's CO2 emissions, while road transport accounts for 60% of CO2 emissions. 

In December 2019, the European Commission presented the European Green Deal, which outlines the path for Europe to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. The EU achieves this goal through the European Climate Law, which sets mandatory targets. However, there is no standard solution that can be universally applied to every enterprise regarding the "how" question. Carbon neutrality means zero net greenhouse gas emissions. It occurs when the amount of carbon dioxide and other gases emitted equals what is removed from the atmosphereand stored in carbon sinks. Carbon neutrality can apply to a country, an industry, a company, a product, a service, an event, or even an activity, such as flying or an individual's lifestyle. However, for most organizations and individuals, it is not easy to reduce their emissions, and in some cases, completely eliminate them. 

When it comes to urban mobility, currently 1.3 billion internal combustion engine cars are running on roads worldwide, with more than 300 million in the European Union alone, and their average age is increasing. Our research shows that businesses also need to reduce the harmful emissions of their vehicle fleets. However, corporate fleets are on average more than 10 years old, and the vast majority of businesses simply cannot afford to purchase large quantities of vehicles that produce less or even zero harmful emissions. As a result, internal combustion engine vehicles will stay with us for longer, even for a few more decades. This shows that aging fleets represent the biggest challenge to achieve green entrepreneurship. 

Reducing CO2 emissions in urban mobility requires close cooperation between industrial and political actors. However, the transition into a carbon-free economy is a long-term process and faces many challenges, such as the development of infrastructure and the spread of new technologies and fuels. Making urban mobility more sustainable is therefore one of the main objectives to reduce global carbon dioxide emissions. It is not just a moral, but biological duty to do our very best against global warming and mitigate the risk of the fatal consequences. Luckily, there are more and more methods and tools available in the fight. In the coming weeks, we are going to elaborate on them further.