There is almost a universal agreement amongst independent scientists that climate change is real, is the great environmental challenge facing the world today, and that the only real debate should be what to do about it.
The main climate change gases which make this happen are water vapour and carbon dioxide. As humans put more carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere the Greenhouse Effect becomes stronger. This causes the global climate to change unnaturally. Amounts of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases emitted by human activity has increased significantly as we have become more and more dependant on fossil fuels. The Greenhouse Effect will change the climate in Greater Manchester in many ways, including warmer temperatures, wetter winters and drier summers. Adapting to climate change and reducing emissions that will lead to further climate change poses a huge challenge for the Greater Manchester region.
The Climate Change Act 2008 set the world’s first legally binding climate change target, committing the UK to reducing its CO2 emissions by at least 34% by 2020 and 80% by 2050 (on 1990 levels). The UK government anticipates reductions from all sectors of the economy, including transport.
Greater Manchester itself intends to contribute to, and exceed the national target by reducing its CO2 emissions by 48% on 1990 levels by 2020.
According to data from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), total direct emissions in Greater Manchester during 2005 (the first year data was available) totalled 18.2 million tonnes of CO2. Transport is a significant contributor to emissions in Greater Manchester, accounting for over 30% of the total.
Transport for Greater Manchester is taking action to reduce its own carbon footprint and influence public transport operators in Greater Manchester to reduce theirs. The need to travel must also be reduced by integrating land use and transport decisions better. This will require leadership and an innovative approach to creating a low carbon transport network where public transport, cycling and walking are preferred to travelling by single-occupancy car.
Transport for Greater Manchester's Climate Change Strategy
Transport for Greater Manchester's climate change strategy is currently undergoing internal consultation before it is made available to external consultees. The strategy is intended to guide internal actions and to influence others. It covers all modes of transport over which Transport for Greater Manchester has an influence including walking and cycling.
No single organisation can deliver the level of carbon reductions required by transport. The targets are only achievable if Transport for Greater Manchester works in partnership with communities, other public sector agencies, and the private sector to ensure a joined up approach.
In general, public transport produces far less climate change gas per passenger journey than an equivalent journey by car. By encouraging modal shift Transport for Greater Manchester can contribute to reducing carbon emissions by increasing the use of public transport
Graph: CO²/Passengers/Km for transport modes in Greater Manchester
As far as possible the figures are based on average loadings and energy use in Greater Manchester. Generally public transport represents a low carbon alternative, and cycling and walking are carbon neutral modes. QBC stands for Quality Bus Corridor, an approach including real time passenger information, separate bus lanes, and bus priority measures that increase the number of passengers reducing the grams of CO² per passenger per km