Originally published by
as if Timothy Welch *
Comment – At the COP26 Climate Conference, world politicians reached an agreement at the last minute. Mankind is now waiting to see whether nations will live up to their promises and whether those words will help the planet.
If the rest of our climate change reflects the policies of transportation, we will be in a difficult situation in the future.
COP26 may be one of the last chances to avert a catastrophic climate change, but the best and most courageous step our leaders can take for transportation is the universal acceptance of electric vehicles – a vague critique of active and public transportation. .
EVs are fun for politicians, many businesses and a few drivers. They give us nightmares that dramatically change our way of life and dramatically reduce the impact on our environment.
But cars with internal combustion engines always do what they do in our city. They create a huge gap between where we live, where we work, and where we buy. But cities that are expanding are not sustainable.
Building endless greenfield spaces and converting forests or farmland to low-income housing requires enormous resources. As our cities grow, the demand for our city’s infrastructure, such as water, sewerage, electricity, and public transportation, is declining.
Electric cars are still cars
Electric cars make our cities less attractive and more efficient for more sustainable transportation. Regardless of the type of pollution, motorists kill 1.35 million people worldwide, including more than 300 in New Zealand each year.
More cars in cities means more space for parking, less room and more risk for active modes and less efficient public transportation. Clinging to a car does not prevent it from becoming a killer machine or creating congestion.
There is still no clear and lasting way to control the e-waste generated by EVs. Electric cars are not “green”. They still use tires that generate large amounts of waste. Rubber clothing creates microplastics that end up in our waterways and oceans.
Although the EVs use the best regenerative braking than traditional incinerators, they still use brake pads when braking. Braking produces toxic dust with heavy metals such as mercury, lead, cadmium and chromium. These heavy metals travel to our rivers and streams, following themselves forever in these waterways.
Less driving, switching to active transportation
Although EVs are good for our planet, we may not be able to reach New Zealand’s target level to significantly reduce transportation emissions to achieve our climate goals.
New Zealand introduced subsidies in July this year, but this time less than 0.5 per cent of vehicles are fully electric. With the current adoption of EV, it will take several decades before enough electric motors can start to propel ships.
According to the Commission on Climate Change, at least 50% of New Zealand imported light vehicles must be fully electric by 2029 to achieve New Zealand’s zero zero target.
The report further acknowledges: “Even with the rapid transition to EVs, 80 percent of the vehicles entering the fleet during this decade will still be ICE vehicles.
The current level of EV adoption reflects the appreciation of the richest people in our society. After purchasing high-powered electric cars, we can expect the adoption curve to be flat.
It is not fair to expect middle- and low-income people to replace their existing vehicles with expensive electric cars. Reducing consumer emissions is very unfair. We are placing the most important burden on the most vulnerable groups.
People who push technologies like EVs make great promises that we can live our lives the way we do now and that we can never go wrong with our planet. The fact is, we need to make significant changes in our lifestyle.
Still, there is good news. The changes we need to make in the long run are things that most of us would like to do in a community. Bring together a variety of land uses to live, work and buy in your neighborhood. It connects the community to long-distance cycling and public transportation infrastructure.
As we know, life must change, but that change can be for the better. We do not need to throw away our over three million fossil cars, but we do drive less. Although it looks good, buying a new electric car will not save the planet.
* Timothy Welch is a senior lecturer in urban planning at Auckland University.
* This article was first published during the discussion and will be used with permission.