NASA rings the death knell for car-based design in a new study concluding that cars, buses, and trucks are the greatest source of global warming. NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies analyzed 13 sectors of the economy to estimate which will have the greatest impact if we continue on the same trend from 2000-2100 as we have in the past.
They concluded that “motor vehicles emerged as the greatest contributor to atmospheric warming now and in the near term. Cars, buses, and trucks release pollutants and greenhouse gases that promote warming, while emitting few aerosols that counteract it.”
The new analysis offers policy makers and the public a far more detailed and comprehensive understanding of how to mitigate climate change most effectively. The study was led by Nadine Unger who asserts that “targeting on-road transportation is a win-win-win. It’s good for the climate in the short term and long term, and it’s good for our health.”
Our next step is address the problem of designing cities and suburbs and towns that leave people strapped to their cars with little alternative — even if they wanted to stop driving in order to save money, eliminate their contribution to climate change, reduce stress, make the streets safer for kids, and the elderly.
We need to stop developing new roads that perpetuate dependency on an environmentally, financially, and socially destructive tool and, most urgently, need to start investing heavily in public transportation – as though our lives and planet depended on it.