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Why biking must be explicitly added to the Green New Deal - Mobility Lab

Now’s the time for sweeping climate change legislation that will reduce carbon emissions in the United States. That’s where the popular Green New Deal (GND) comes in, a proposal from newly-elected Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez that, if passed, would set goals for future climate lawmaking.

The first draft of the resolution leaked this morning, so the goals outlined might change. But as of this writing, there’s one glaring omission: biking.

The surprisingly lackluster transportation goals in the GND are listed as the last item in the clean and renewable energy section, even though transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. The goals are:

  1. Zero-emission vehicle infrastructure and manufacturing

  2. Clean, affordable, and accessible public transportation

  3. High-speed rail

Here’s the problem with this: Cars account for 60 percent of transportation emissions. Add pickup trucks (which are increasing in market share) and this percentage increases.

Meanwhile, air travel (which, according to NPR’s Morning Edition, the high-speed rail goal seeks to reduce) is only 9 percent of emissions. Electric vehicles – which presumably is what “zero-emission vehicle infrastructure” refers to – will never require less energy than public and active transportation. And the public transportation goal doesn’t say anything about actually increasing service, which is the best way to increase ridership.

Reducing vehicle miles traveled is the only way to reduce transportation emissions. So why doesn’t the GND prioritize transportation policies that are proven to do this?

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