From Minneapolis to the Putrajaya Lake

How the Bicycle Access Ramp is helping reduce emissions.

By: Andy Lambert, Global Sales Manager

From the bush fire in Australia to the flooding in Venice, the impacts of the global climate crisis are being realized before our eyes. Great Thunberg’ s book uses the title “Our House Is on Fire” and this isn’t hyperbole, our planet is literally burning up (while glaciers melt) and we need to start acting like it. One way you can act is by choosing your bicycle for transportation any chance you get.

We at Saris Infrastructure look at the places we live and visit through the lens of bicycle infrastructure. Where are the bike lanes and are they designed to protect cyclists? Is there a network of these lanes and is that network connected? How easy is it to get around on a bicycle for everyone in the community? Do public stairways have ramps so I don’t have to carry my bike up and down them?

The need to reduce our carbon emissions is highlighting these questions in more people’s minds around the world. One example of a country taking action is the Green Technology Applications for the Development of Low Carbon Cities project (GTALCC). This is a collaboration between the Government of Malaysia, Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and funds are available for projects that help communities reduce their carbon emissions.

The original article was posted on Saris Infrastructure

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Oslo saw zero pedestrian and cyclist deaths in 2019. Here’s how the city did it.

By on 

 

City data for the Norwegian capital, which has a population of about 673,000, show a dramatic reduction in traffic fatalities, from 41 deaths in 1975 to a single roadway death last year. One adult man was killed in 2019 when his vehicle struck a fence.

 

According to a story in the Norwegian paper Aftenposten, safety advocates are directly attributing the virtual elimination of roadway deaths to recent initiatives which have allowed fewer cars into the city’s center.

Over the last five years, the city has taken dramatic steps to reduce vehicular traffic in its downtown, including replacing nearly all on-street parking with bike lanes and sidewalks. Major streets have been closed to cars, and congestion pricing raised the fee to drive into the city center, with the goal of making most of downtown car-free by 2019.

 

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Low Carbon Cities – Malaysia’s Response to Global Climate Emergency

By Nasha Lee, Environment Analyst, UNDP Malaysia

The 2019 UN Climate Change Conference, known as COP 25, is currently underway in the Spanish capital of Madrid. Within the halls of the negotiations, as negotiators discuss more ambitious action on climate change, the phrase “climate emergency” has been used generously. From children skipping school for climate strikes, to protests which put city centres to a standstill – 2019 is the year in which the climate emergency has been dragged to the mainstream by people all around the world.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has warned there is only a dozen years for global warming to be kept to a maximum of 1.5C, beyond which even half a degree will significantly worsen the risks of drought, floods, extreme heat and poverty for hundreds of millions of people.

Cities at the frontline of climate change

Cities offer a solution to the climate emergency. Over half of the world’s population lives in urban areas, which produce 80% of GDP and are responsible for a whopping three quarters of carbon emissions. This share of population, economic activity and emissions is set to grow rapidly.

By 2050, two-thirds of our global population will live in urban areas. Nearly 90% of the growth in urban population will occur in Asia and Africa. As urban populations in these regions continue to grow and have greater material prosperity, there will be a corresponding rise in the consumption of resources and energy, and generation of waste. It is becoming increasingly real that the battle for the planet will be won or lost in cities.

Over time, cities and its inhabitants will also be more vulnerable to the effects of climate change, ranging from heat waves, to droughts, floods and hurricanes. 70% of cities around the world are already dealing with climate impacts, while nearly all cities are at risk.

A 2018 report by C40 forecasts that 1.6 billion people would be regularly exposed to extreme high temperatures by 2050. Food supplies would also be under threat, with one in four people (2.5 billion people) living in over 1,600 cities facing food insecurity due to climate change. Richer cities such as Athens, Barcelona, Istanbul and Los Angeles are not excluded from this list.

Malaysia’s recent climate change report to the UNFCCC, an output of a UNDP- Global Environment Facility Project shows that the country’s temperature, rainfall and sea levels have been on the rise in the last 40 years, and are projected to continue rising to 2050. Average temperatures are projected to hike between 1.2 to 1.6oC by 2050. This brings about an added vulnerability to a large proportion of our urban population who live in low-elevation coastal areas.

Low Carbon Cities

Low carbon cities are an opportunity to reduce carbon emissions while offering tremendous economic opportunities. A new report from the Coalition for Urban Transition show that by using existing low-carbon technologies and practices, we could cut 90% of emissions globally. These would require an investment of USD 1.8 trillion (approximately 2% of global GDP) a year but will generate annual returns worth USD2.8 trillion in 2030 from the energy and material cost savings alone.

Carbon emissions in Malaysia mainly relate to urban settings, where the energy sector (including electricity and transportation) makes up 80% of total emissions. This means that there is enormous potential to reduce emissions from the energy sector to obtain both carbon and cost savings. A joint study by UNDP and the Economic Planning Unit (now known as the Ministry of Economic Affairs) estimated that just by improving energy efficiency in the buildings and transport sectors, RM46.9 billion (USD 11.2 billion) in energy spending could be saved between 2016 and 2030.

Low carbon city measures such clean energy, energy efficiency, sustainable transport and integrated waste management can help cities to leapfrog to a sustainable and green development pathway. Investments in low carbon cities also create opportunities for decent work in these new emerging sectors.

Many cities in Malaysia have already set a low-carbon vision or developed a low carbon action plan, and the preparation of greenhouse gas inventories that can help to track low-carbon actions are also underway. Urban areas such as Kuala Lumpur, Iskandar Malaysia, Seberang Perai and Melaka have signed up to be members of city alliances such as the C40 and ICLEI, making a commitment to minimise their carbon footprints. A total of 52 local authorities are now part of the Low Carbon City Framework Programme which encourages strategies and actions to reduce carbon emissions at the local level.

These cities are part of a group of almost 10,000 cities that are stepping up and committing to inspirational action to reduce carbon emissions.

What is UNDP Malaysia doing?

With funding support from the Global Environment Facility (GEF), UNDP is working together with our partners the Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change (MESTECC) and the Sustainable Energy Development Authority (SEDA) to implement a low carbon cities project titled the Green Technology Application for the Development of Low Carbon Cities (GTALCC) project.

The GTALCC project promotes integrated solutions covering a few focus areas: (1) integrated planning for climate action, (2) crowding in private investment and supporting city-level climate finance instruments, (3) driving the zero-carbon transition with a focus on integrated urban energy, building, transport and waste systems.

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‘Zero Emission Tokyo Strategy’ spells out capital’s plan to take on global climate crisis

BY OSCAR BOYD, The Japan Times

Tucked into the tail end of the decade was Friday’s release of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s “Zero Emission Tokyo Strategy,” which unveils a blueprint for achieving net zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2050.

In the strategy, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government states that it recognizes a climate crisis and that the city “will implement concrete policies and effective measures,” such as making all buildings in Tokyo zero-emissions buildings and making all cars driven here completely carbon-free by the middle of the century.

 

 

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Download the document Zero Emission Tokyo Strategy