transport related emissions of carbon dioxide are growing rapidly.
The use of petroleum as a fossil fuel for transportation dominates
carbon dioxide emissions from this source.
In 1999, in the US, more than 30 percent of fossil
fuel related carbon dioxide emissions were a direct result of transportation.
With about two-thirds of this being from petrol consumption by motor
vehicles and the remainder coming from diesel and jet fuel use in
lorries and aircraft, respectively.
As well as a rapid increase in worldwide motor vehicle
use, the use of catalytic convertors in many vehicles has led to
increased carbon dioxide emissions or at least some off-setting
of the benefits gained by increased engine efficiencies.
Carbon dioxide emissions arising from transport are a very emotive
issue. The majority of people make regular use of some form of transport
which runs on fossil fuel and produces greenhouse gases. For many,
life without a car seems unbearable and cannot be countenanced.
The falling price of national and international flights has also
led to an explosion in air traffic in recent years, with air travel
being one of the most greenhouse gas rich forms of transport in
Potential for control
Within the last few years the UK has already been brought to a
standstill by panic buying of petrol, with the government having
to abandon any kind of strong environmental stance on car use in
the face of a furious public. The fact remains though, that transport
constitutes a large component of global man-made greenhouse gas
If we are ever to truly tackle human-induced global warming then
cuts in transport related emissions have to be made and our love
affair with oil ended. Technological advances are continuing to
cut emissions, but at the same time car, lorry and airplane use
is escalating. The issue of greenhouse gas emissions from transport
is likely to be one of the most fiercely fought battle grounds of
environmental reform during this century.