International Association of Public Transport (UITP)

A low carbon future with public transport


Courtesy of Courtesy of International Association of Public Transport (UITP)

The contribution public transport makes to reducing carbon use and the mitigating the risk of climate change; this paper will provide a short background on greenhouse gases (ghg), detail the share and responsibility for public transport; and provide recommendations.



Man-made emissions and increasing levels of carbon dioxide are altering the natural climate cycles; bringing extremes in weather all over the world. The extent of the impact and how reversible these effects are may still be unknown, but the direct and indirect consequences of the changes that we are already experiencing present risks that should not be ignored.  For example, the weather-related economic losses of hurricane Katrina, which hit the United Sates in summer 2005, are estimated at US$200 billion1. As global warming continues the annual toll could reach US$150 billion in the next 10 years and US$300 billion by 20502. Reducing the risk of extreme weather and insurance costs caused by climate change is therefore of crucial importance.


What is the Greenhouse Gas effect?  The earth is protected from the sun by a blanket of gases. Some of the sun’s energy penetrates this layer and the reverse allows energy to escape into space.  Excess GHGs change the balance of this naturally occurring process and alters the thickness of this layer, meaning that more heat/energy is trapped and the temperature around the planet increases. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) believes that the warming of the Earth should be limited to 2°C3, this means limiting the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere to 550 ppm4.

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