Open letter: Global coalition calls on governments at COP26 to boost cycling levels to reduce carbon emissions and reach climate goals quickly and effectively

Today, the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) and a global coalition of pro-cycling organisations are publishing an open letter calling on governments attending COP26 in Glasgow to commit to significantly increasing the number of people who cycle in their countries in order to reach global climate goals quickly and effectively.

The world needs much more cycling if we are to combat climate change. Without quicker and more determined action by governments worldwide to cut transport carbon emissions, we will be dooming present and future generations to 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 trucks 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.

ECF and its allies 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. We must urgently leverage the solutions that cycling offers by radically scaling up its use.

The signatories to the open letter call on governments and leaders attending COP26 to declare commitments to significantly boost cycling levels at home and collectively commit to achieving a global target of higher cycling levels. The letter was sent to governments and transport ministers ahead of COP26. 

Thomas Cornwallis, Convenor of GoBike: “We have a recent consultation in Glasgow, Connecting Communities which highlighted that majority of people supported changes to make our streets suitable for active travel, so that it was an option for them. It’s time for governments at COP26 to realise this, and make sure that our urban spaces have the funding, the legislation and staff to quickly make our streets accessible for everyone to cycle.”

Jill Warren, CEO of the European Cyclists’ Federation: “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.”

Henk Swarttouw, President of European Cyclists’ Federation and of the World Cycling Alliance: “Cycling should be a cornerstone of global, national and local strategies to meet net-zero carbon targets. 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.”


Read the open letter to governments at COP26: www.cop26cycling.com

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