UCI joins calls for governments to invest in cycling to battle carbon emissions

Cycling's governing body joined the ECF and others to write to governments attending COP26 in Glasgow

Glasgow is hosting the UN COP26 climate talks
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The UCI as well as the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) and other international cycling organisations have written an open letter to the governments attending the COP26 climate talks asking to boost cycling to lower carbon emissions.

Cycling's governing body, the UCI has joined a coalition of cycling groups to try and convince world leaders that cycling is one of the ways forward to lower carbon emissions that are created by vehicles such as cars and lorries. 

The UCI says that by quickly acting and getting more people riding bikes levels of carbon can be reduced significantly in a relatively swift time scale.

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In a statement, the UCI said: "The world needs much more cycling if it is to combat climate change. Without quicker and more determined action by governments worldwide to cut transport carbon emissions, future generations will be faced with a world that is more hostile and much less inhabitable.

"CO₂ emissions from the transport sector continue to increase. Meanwhile, the transition to zero-emission cars and lorries will take decades to complete and will not solve other problems like traffic congestion and sedentary lifestyles. 

"Despite this, COP26 Transport Day on 10 November is set to focus exclusively on the electrification of road vehicles as a solution to the climate crisis we are facing today."

The COP26 is the 26th annual summit of the Conference of the Parties climate talks which are put on by the UN, bringing almost every country in the world together for talks on how to save the world from climate change.

This year the UK is the 'President' of the talks with Prime Minister Boris Johnson as well as Sir David Attenborough and others holding talks in what is being seen as the world's last chance to slow runaway climate change.

The UCI continued: "The UCI, ECF and all in the coalition believe cycling represents one of humanity’s greatest hopes for a shift towards a zero-carbon future. Bicycle use produces zero emissions, delivers far-reaching positive societal impacts and – most importantly – is a technology that is already widely available today. 

"The world cannot afford to wait decades for fossil-fuel cars to be fully phased out and replaced by electric vehicles. It is necessary to urgently leverage the solutions that the bicycle offers by radically scaling up its use."

Adding to these comments was the president of the UCI, David Lappartient, who, along with Jill Warren, CEO of ECF and Henk Swarttouw, President of ECF added their views all stressed the importance of cycling in the fight to save our world.

Lappartient said: "Cycling provides key solutions to global challenges such as climate change, public health, traffic congestion and air pollution. The global risk of events like extreme droughts, wildfires, and flooding will increase exponentially if the planet’s temperature rises by 1.5°C or more by 2030. One way to save our world will be for more of us to cycle more frequently."

Jill Warren added: "There is no conceivable way for governments to reduce CO₂ emissions quickly enough to avoid the worst of the climate crisis without significantly more cycling. 

"The devastating effects of accelerating global warming should be clear to everyone, and boosting cycling levels is the best way to quickly cut carbon emissions from transport on a massive scale."

Some nations have already embraced cycling with Denmark and the Netherlands focusing on cycling in their respective capitals of Copenhagen and Amsterdam. France has also announced that it plans to ban through traffic in Paris as soon as next year.

"Cycling should be a cornerstone of global, national and local strategies to meet net-zero carbon targets," added Henk Swarttouw.

"At COP26, governments must commit to providing the financing and legislation for safe and equitable space for cycling everywhere. Citizens are ready for the change; now our leaders need to enable it."