Climate change is happening. Currently, the exact extent of the climate change remains unknown, not least because there is still much that remains to be uncovered in the field of climate science. However, interested individuals should have no doubts whatsoever about the fact that there is scientific consensus on the matter.
Speaking bluntly, this is pretty scary. Sure, most of the predictions aren't of either inevitable doom or inevitable decline. However, it is important to remember that there is a very wide spectrum between climate change bringing about the extinction of the human species and climate change being a matter of no consequence. After all, change comes with a cost. As a result, it is no wonder that so many people out there fear that climate change will cause the destabilization of already vulnerable countries, thus resulting in conflicts plus other horrendous knock-on effects.
By this point, it should be clear that climate change is a serious issue that merits serious effort to combat. This is particularly true because there isn't a single cause for climate change. Instead, it is happening because of every single person and every single organization on the planet, seeing as how the processes responsible for the phenomenon are so fundamental to what we call modern civilization. Still, there are some segments that bear a bigger share of the responsibility than others, as shown by the impact of the transportation industry.
In short, the transportation industry is responsible for more than a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. This is unsurprising because transportation and thus the costs of transportation permeate the whole of modern civilization, meaning that they add up over time. Naturally, this means that there is a wide range of parties pursuing a wide range of ways to reduce the transportation industry's impact on the planet.
A bus produces more greenhouse gas emissions than a car. However, it is important to remember that a bus isn't competing with a car on a one-for-one basis in this regard. Instead, its greenhouse gas emissions should be compared with the greenhouse gas emissions of all of the cars that the bus passengers would have otherwise used to move themselves from place to place. As such, buses as well as other forms of public transportation are more efficient than cars on their own, thus making them a part of the solution for the problem of climate change.
Of course, there are multiple ways that public transportation can prove relevant in this particular case. For example, there is encouraging more people to make use of public transportation than other transportation methods, which is particularly important in the United States thanks to its increased preference for the latter over the former. Likewise, there is switching over to more energy-efficient vehicles for public transportation systems, which is expensive but can nonetheless produce excellent returns in the long run. There are numerous other possibilities besides the two mentioned here, which may or may not prove to be useful in every single case.
Electric vehicles can be considered another solution for the disproportionate role of the transportation industry in climate change. Essentially, conventional vehicles have to burn fossil fuels to move. In contrast, electrical vehicles can be charged so long as there is a source of electricity, thus opening up a wide range of new possibilities. Certainly, there is still plenty of electricity that is being generated through the use of fossil fuels. However, more and more electricity is being generated through more sustainable sources, not least because these options have seen significant technological improvement in recent times thanks to the time, effort, and other resources lavished upon them.
Having said that, there are still various challenges that must be overcome before electric vehicles can overtake their conventional counterparts. For instance, while electric vehicles have seen incredible advancements in their capabilities, it will take more time for more refinements to come in. This is critical because better performance is a key selling point for vehicles, meaning that this process is absolutely necessary for enabling electric vehicles to compete. Beyond this, it should be mentioned that electric vehicles remain less convenient than their conventional counterparts for the time being. Since conventional cars see so much use everywhere, most of the existing infrastructure for keeping vehicles running caters to them. There are plenty of parties building the necessary infrastructure for electric cars, but their relative unavailability means that electric vehicles still have a strike against them in this regard. On top of this, it should be mentioned that consumer preferences is very much a potent force in its own right. Simply put, the popular perception of electric vehicles means that there is still considerable resistance to them from certain segments of the consumer base. Said resistance is by no means insurmountable because the right marketing campaign can work wonders, but said process is something that will call for significant expenditures of time and effort for success.
Business Green Initiatives
It is understandable that most people would pay the most attention to consumer transportation when it comes to the transportation industry. After all, it is the form of transportation that is most familiar to them, which makes it perfectly natural for it to occupy the bulk of their interest. However, it is important to remember that much of the transportation industry is focused on other kinds of transportation, with business to business shipping being an excellent example.
In recent times, businesses have received more and more pressure to pursue efficiency in their transportation practices. To some extent, this is because of true environmentalist sentiment on the part of business leadership. However, a more powerful persuader would be the profit incentive. One, being eco-conscious means being energy efficient, which might require some upfront investment but can nonetheless make for considerable savings in the long run. Two, being eco-conscious is better business practice than what a lot of people might expect. This is because stakeholders tend to be more sympathetic to businesses that either share their beliefs or seem to share their beliefs, thus making it that much easier to market products and services to them. As a result, it is no wonder that so many businesses out there tout their social responsibility even though that seems to contradict profit maximization on initial consideration.
Written by Bill Vix
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