Green transportation is the way we have to go

Training ourselves to use rail and bus will help.

by Melinda Henricks, Staff Writer

The 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report which represents the consensus of the world’s leading climate scientists and was approved by member governments including the United States concluded that greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced 50 to 85 percent by 2050 in order to limit global warming to 4 degrees Fahrenheit, thereby avoiding many of the worst impacts of climate change.

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from transportation will require a broad range of strategies, including increasing vehicle efficiency, lowering the carbon content of fuels, and reducing vehicle miles of travel.

The transportation sector produces one-third of all the greenhouse emissions in the United States, according to the American Public Transportation Association. Private vehicles are the largest contributor to a household’s carbon footprint. A single person traveling alone, by car, who switches to a 20 mile commute by existing public transportation, can reduce their annual CO2 emissions by 4,800 pounds per year. Public transportation is estimated to reduce CO2 emissions by 37 million metric tons annually.

The next generation of children will be the first generation raised with sustainable green public transportation options in Los Angeles. Making the effort to embrace these changes will dramatically improve the environment.

The stigma associated with bus and train ridership must be overcome. According to Professor Michelle Lee Marks,(Psychology Today), commuting by public transportation may be a difficult stumbling block to overcome as humans are creatures of habit and resist change. Other countries and cities have long understood the value and savings of public transportation. Amtrak reports that density in european cities is higher making the investment lower and the ridership higher.

APTA reports ridership has increased 30 percent since 1995, with more than ten billion trips taken annually. Some advantages include arriving on time without stress, time spent on a bus or train can be used as personal time, additionally, parking and fees become non- existent. Households that use public transportation save an average of $6,250 per person annually.

Climate change and energy legislation should specifically target public transportation as a national priority. We all have a stake in easing traffic and expanding public transportation. Many bus lines are currently clean air fleets with more to follow.

Global warming is not a theory. It has become obvious the we need to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions substantially before the damage to our planet becomes irreversible, before it causes substantial reduction to our mobility, destroys our health and makes life unbearable. Using public transportation is one of the most effective actions individuals can take to reduce their environmental impact.

Currently, public transportation may not be ideal in all situations, however, when there is an option check it out. Students receive discounted fares on most metro lines. Log on to gometro.com and check out the fares and availability in your area.

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