ScienceAlert says that a 70 per cent reduction from transport looks daunting, but if just five smaller steps are taken simultaneously and spread over 20 years the goal looks more possible.
Step 1: Reduce travel demand by 20 per cent. Obviously people in cities have to travel to get to work, but are the massive flows of the daily journey to work really necessary? A 20 per cent cut would take Melbourne back to about the amount of travel in 1998. Remote communications with the use of the Internet and email could make it possible for a significant number of people to go to the office just three days a week instead of five. Improved logistics in the delivery of goods could make some of those journeys by half-empty trucks unnecessary. Still, most people, 80 per cent, would continue to travel as before.
Step 2: Shift 20 per cent of journeys to low or non-greenhouse gas emitting modes of transport. Most trips in the city are of less than five kilometres. Some of these trips could be made on foot, or by bike. Some could be made by low emission public transport.
Step 3: Improve vehicle greenhouse performance by 20 per cent by the use of alternative fuels (biofuels, LPG etc). Improvements in engine technology now in train could well deliver such a reduction.
Step 4: Improve fuel efficiency for travel by 20 per cent. This is perhaps the easiest step of all. Travel does not require large heavy fuel-guzzling cars. Such vehicles are for style, not travel, and style can be delivered in other ways once the true price of travel is paid.
Step 5: Obtain 20 per cent of energy for travel in individual motor vehicles from zero-carbon sources. Solar electric energy is coming. Electric vehicle refuelling could be linked to housing equipped with high-efficiency solar arrays to recharge batteries, as already installed in one suburban house in Oxford, UK. New generation photovoltaic “sliver” cells could be used.