29 July 2021
The overshoot day. The day on which we all exhausted the resources that the Earth is capable of producing in the whole of 2021.
For the fourth time in five years, the overshoot day falls in July. The only time it didn’t was in 2020, with the pandemic shutdown. In other words, with this current consumption of resources, we would need 1.75 Earths this year. In Italy, we would even need the resources of 2.7 Earths.
We consume more than the planet is able to give us, which is why sustainability must become the cornerstone on which to build a mobility that is not only innovative, but also capable of supporting and being supported by the Earth.
EU leaders have committed to building a carbon-neutral economy and society by 2050, and transport is one of the key sectors targeted by effective public policies to reduce CO2 emissions and where adaptation measures are needed to reduce vulnerability to climate change.
Society must undergo a transformation that requires a drastic reduction in greenhouse gas emissions to achieve the goal of carbon neutrality by 2050, while ensuring affordable alternative solutions for citizens.
According to the latest statistics from the United Nations Economic Commission, the transport sector is responsible for about 30% of CO2 emissions in industrially developed countries and for about 23% of total man-made CO2 emissions worldwide.
New solutions must be found to increase resource efficiency towards a more socially and environmentally sustainable society.
Gustave Le Bon said that the need for certainty has always been stronger than the need for truth. In the case of CO2 emissions, the need to publicise that it was not such a deep-seated problem has been, for many years, greater than the need to analyse and seek real solutions to a deep-rooted problem such as CO2 emissions.
Switzerland’s Energy Programme, launched by the Federal Council in 1991, promotes the rational use of energy in the country, and in a February 2020 report states that the production of electricity from renewable sources should be intensified in parallel with the development of electric mobility. In addition, electric vehicles do not directly emit pollutants, so in urban areas with heavy traffic, they can even improve air quality.
As things stand, yes, electric vehicles do still emit CO2, but in a reduced amount. The final goal is to reach such an energy autonomy and efficiency that the benefit gap between electric and combustion vehicles will become ever greater and will pave the way to a 100% EVs transition.
Vehicles sharing is an urban mobility tool based, as the term suggests, on the use of a fleet of vehicles by several people who use them according to their needs. It is a highly effective solution for those who do not have a mean of transportation but need it occasionally, for those with limited mobility needs and for those who need to integrate public transport services.
The established sharing services offer is characterized by several environmentally friendly effects:
In addition to the relief effects resulting from the environmentally conscious transport behavior of vehicles sharing participants, a positive effect is achieved by the fact that greener vehicles are used in sharing than in the private or company fleet. The tariff system, which is staggered according to vehicle size, leads users to choose vehicles with smaller engines and dimensions depending on their intended use. Compared to new private vehicles, sharing ones emit on average 15 to 25 percent less climate-damaging C02 per kilometer driven.
For example, the price structure of sharing services providers allows users to cover a wide range of user needs in a cost-effective and environmentally friendly way. To this end, the providers offer a variety of different vehicle models from which the user can choose the most suitable one for the upcoming trip: the compact one for the business trip, the station wagon for the family outing, the scooter for the leisure trip in nice weather or a minibus for the team of the local sports club.
This principle is applied to all kinds of vehicles when they are integrated into the fleet. Whether short or long distance, the most environmentally friendly drive is available for every purpose in the sharing mobility module. When booking vehicles, users can decide whether an electric car or a vehicle with a conventional drive is the right vehicle for their next trip and are gradually introduced to the use of electric vehicles.
The average usage patterns in the sharing world fit well with the performance parameters of modern electric vehicles. For example, an electric car in carsharing can easily handle three typical city trips of up to 35 km at a stretch without having to recharge at the charging station, making electric cars a commercially viable option for urban carsharing providers. In 2020, the fleet of the five major carsharing providers in the city of Paris consisted of 66% electric and battery vehicles, 17% hybrid vehicles and only 17% internal combustion engine vehicles.
Sharing mobility is a window on the future. To waste less through it means to ask less to the planet. It would only need to delay the Overshoot day by 5 days each year, to get even with the Earth before 2050. Mobility, as everything else, needs to do its job. We do not have 1.75 Earths available. We have just one, and it is not ours: it is in sharing.