The UN climate meeting, COP15 in Copenhagen, is approaching at breakneck speed and most of us lay our fears and hopes in the hands of the world leaders, wishing that they will come up with a sustainable climate agreement. But we can't afford to leave it all to them.
We want to make COP15 not only a global, but a local issue as well, because it's only through local actions we can achieve global change. We have to shift focus: from abstract percentages and climate targets to concrete political measures. A powerful climate adjustment requires comprehensive infrastructural changes in the transport sector. The key to climate adjustment is to be found in the cities, where most of the emissions are generated. Through simple reforms such as planning our cities for public transport, bicycle and pedestrian transport, we can actively reduce car traffic and cut the emission rates in our cities.
So far, the local transport sector has been sadly neglected in the climate debate, and we doubt that COP15 will produce any change in that area. It's up to us to make this important issue visible and put it on the agenda. Even though the inflation in car traffic is one of our biggest sources of greenhouse gas emissions and unnecessary oil use, few cities have any serious plans to radically decrease their car traffic.
Freeing public transport from fares would effectively create incentives for car drivers to choose public transport instead. With just a marginal tax-raise (in Stockholm, capital of Sweden, all commuters who earns less than 5000 Euros a month would benefit from this), the public transport system could be made free at the point of entry. Free public transport is one solution to pollution!
If you are going to Copenhagen in december, please join us in the pink block in the big demonstration on the 12th. And if you are not – make a demonstration at home and turn to your local politicians with demands for a radical, climate friendly transport policy with investments in public transport and zero fares!
Best wishes from Planka.nu - The Swedish free public transport group