A big polluter – commuting

My preferred approach to pollution is not to analyse the underlying pollution producers like cars or power stations but to look at the activities that require the use of these. Eliminating or reducing emissions from cars or power stations must be an objective but it relies on technology more than anything else.

So, focusing down on the activites that result in carbon emissions I want to look at commuting. Something that I beleive to be archaic and unnecessary in many industries.

At say 5kgs of carbon emissions per hour 25 million people are commuting per day for an average of 1 hour. This racks up to a massive 125,000 tonnes of carbon emissions per day in the UK alone. With around 6bn tonnes of carbon emissions per annum globally I make that almost 1% of global daily emissions! Have I got that right?

I would propose that the company that obliges an employee to commute (for perhaps perfectly good reason) should pay for the privilege. This may encourage a dramatic improvement in home-life, regeneration of the countryside and less housing issues as companies invest in making working in dispersed groups efficient.

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1 Response so far »

  1. 1

    jimlove said,

    The total carbon emissions in the UK per annum are 140million tonnes or just short of 400,000 tonnes per day. If my calculations are correct then commuting makes up around 30% of daily UK emissions. I need to recheck the calculations and figures.

    I have checked the emissions from train/car etc. and 5kg is a little high as an average – it should probably be around 3 to 4. This takes commuting down to 20% at 3kgs per day.


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