We are asking for big change

By Katie Hammer
Digital Campaigner, Global Warming Solutions Campaign

Did you know that U.S. transportation alone produces more global warming pollution than any entire nation in the world other than China, India or Russia? We need to change that. Getting from point A to point B in the U.S. shouldn’t threaten our planet. We need transportation without carbon pollution if we want to prevent dangerous global warming.  

Global warming is taking its toll on people and the environment around the world. Here in the U.S., we see more extreme weather like heat waves, droughts, floods, and bad air days because of global warming. We know that to avoid catastrophe and meet the goals of the Paris climate agreement, the U.S. will need to cut overall global warming pollution by more than 80 percent by mid-century.

This month, partnering with Frontier Group, we released a new report on how we can -- and must -- transition our methods of transportation to produce zero carbon emissions. The tools are at our fingertips, now it’s time we get to work.

Over the past decade, we have seen successes take root that are transforming the way we get around:

  • Smart urban growth, like creating bike lanes and connected developments, is making our cities become more walkable and bikeable.
  • In 2006, there were no mass-market electric vehicles. Only a decade later, there are more than a dozen options on the market. With sales passing the 300,000 mark, these much cleaner cars are increasingly affordable.
  • We have better alternatives to driving our own cars. With easy access to car share programs, and ride sourcing apps like Lyft and Uber, membership has grown into the millions.  

These are only a few ways the US has started reducing dangerous pollution from transportation. But the summer months are seemingly days away, we are bracing for what is predicted to be the hottest year on record -- and all the impacts of global warming that will come with it.  Americans across the country are at risk, and we need to do more to protect public health.

We have already taken the first steps to cut global warming pollution in the U.S. Just last month, we joined nearly 160 countries in ratifying the Paris Climate Agreement. This agreement sets a target of limiting global warming to no more than 2 degrees Celsius, with an ideal goal of 1.5 degrees Celsius, above pre-industrial levels. In order to do this, the U.S. must cut global warming pollution by 80 percent by mid-century.

This is a tough goal, but we already have the tools to get started. With smart strategies, we can repower our vehicles with electricity, reduce growth in vehicle travel, and optimize the efficiency of our transportation network. Transforming the transportation sector is critical to reducing carbon pollution along with reductions from other sectors to fulfill the promise we made in Paris.

To learn about all the ways we can make the vision of a zero-carbon transportation future a reality, check out our report: A New Way Forward.