Driving climate change. Cutting carbon from transportation

Driving climate change. Cutting carbon from transportation 

Daniel Sperling and James Cannon 

Burlington, US: Elsevier | 2007 | 295pp | ?23.99 (HB) | ISBN 9780123694959 

Reviewed by George Mills

This book is based on the Asilomar conference on transportation and energy held in Pacific Grove, California, US, in August 2005. This is a series of conferences organised every two years since 1988 by the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Davis, under the auspices of the US National Research Council’s transportation research board. The data presented and initiatives discussed in this book are North American, but the issues are the same around the world.  

The contributors to this volume, edited by Daniel Sperling, director of the ITS, and James Cannon, president of Energy Futures, discuss new improved vehicle technologies and low-carbon fuels, but also emphasise the necessity to move away from our addiction to personal transport and refocus our attention and resources on efficient mass transit, walking and cycling. The transport sector must make a major contribution to the reduction of greenhouses gas (GHG) levels - it has after all been identified, says Sperling, as the largest source of GHG emissions in the US and is the sector where GHG emissions are growing the fastest. 

They also urge that, through innovative urban planning, we seek to find ways to reduce our energy consumptive lifestyles. Scientists need to be involved in increasing public awareness of the problem and potential solutions through better use of the media and the education system. The final sentence of the book throws down the gauntlet: ’Since virtually every citizen is a transportation planner and decision-maker in meeting his or her transportation needs, the challenge of climate change can only be addressed by broad public participation in changing energy use and travel behaviour.’