Transport Emissions Continue in the Wrong Direction – Urgent Pivots in Policy, Practice and the Sponsorship of Media Programs Needed
Cyclist.ie is incredibly concerned by the latest data released by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that show transport as by far the worst performing sector in Irish society and the economy in terms of tackling its emissions.
The EPA’s data, as issued on 13 July 2023 (see  and  below), show that transport emissions increased by 6 per cent in 2022; transport’s emissions were 10.978 Mt CO2 eq in 2021 and this increased to 11.634 Mt CO2 eq in 2022. The EPA reports that “overall higher transport activity – both private cars and freight transport – is eroding the impact of electric vehicles.”
Cyclist.ie is deeply disturbed by the absence of real and urgent action in transforming our transport system so that we can enter a rapid period of decarbonising the sector. We know from our legally binding sectoral emissions ceilings that transport needs to halve its emissions from 12 MtCO2eq (2018 figures) to 6 MtCO2eq by 2030 . Furthermore, we are all acutely aware that the EPA’s figures have been released in the week that a heat wave is sweeping across parts of southern Europe, and temperatures are expected to surpass 40C (104F) in parts of Spain, France, Greece, Croatia and Turkey.  National Cycling Coordinator with Cyclist.ie and An Taisce, Dr. Damien Ó Tuama, stated “we are simply on the wrong trajectory with transport. At this point, emissions from transport need to be reducing every single year from here on in – not rising by 6% in a single year”. He continued:
“We need rapid action in multiple domains immediately. We need to be increasing further the spend on high quality active travel schemes and the ‘quick-wins’ with enhancing public transport provision. When are we going to see a halt to the domination of our airwaves by adverts urging us to buy ever-bigger Sports Utility Vehicles for our micro-urban trips? When are we going to have our most popular public radio and TV shows not sponsored by car companies with the evitable framing of ‘normal life’ as being characterised by owning super-sized 2000+ kg metal boxes?”
Cyclist.ie asks – “where are the political and business leaders articulating a vision of a low carbon future where one can lead a fulfilled life without owning climate destructive personal transport vehicles? Where is the moral leadership on all of this?” Cyclist.ie points to the leadership shown in Paris recently where city hall is to impose higher parking fees on owners of SUVs in its battle to reduce pollution in the capital . Vice-Chairperson of Cyclist.ie, Dave Tobin, added “We need similar policies introduced in Irish cities so as to completely rebalance how mobility happens. Without such urgent action, we are complicit in passing on a burning planetary ball to our children to deal with.” This is the opposite of the mature and responsible approach we now need.
Notes for Editors
Cyclist.ie – the Irish Cycling Advocacy Network, which brings together 35 groups/branches around Ireland who are campaigning locally on cycling safety and promotion, is the organised voice for cycling advocacy in Ireland. It was founded in 2008, building on the campaigning work of its founding member groups, who themselves came into being in the early and mid 1990s in response to the virtual exclusion of cycling and walking from transport policy and practice, and to the massive danger posed to walkers and cyclists by the systematic growth in motorised mobility. https://cyclist.ie/