Research press release


Communications Earth & Environment

Transport: Going Dutch cuts carbon emissions

世界の1人ひとりが、オランダでの自転車利用パターンのように自転車を1日2.6 km利用すれば、二酸化炭素排出量を年間6億8600万トン削減できるかもしれない。この研究知見は、1962~2015年の世界の自転車の生産量、所有台数、利用状況に関する国別評価に基づいている。今回の研究について報告する論文が、Communications Earth & Environment に掲載される。


今回、Gang Liuたちは、1962~2015年の国別の自転車の所有と利用に関する全球データセットをまとめた。Liuたちは、この期間中に世界の自転車生産量の伸びが自動車生産量を上回っていたという見解を示している。2015年の世界の自転車生産量の65.7%を中国が占め、ブラジル5%、インド4%、イタリア2%、ドイツ2%の順だった。また、自転車の所有台数が多いからといって、必ずしも自転車の利用率が高くなるわけではなく、世界のほとんどの国では、国民の1日の移動に自転車利用が占める割合が5%未満であることも判明した。Liuたちは、デンマークと同じような自転車の利用パターンを採用して、自転車を1日1.6 km利用すれば、年間二酸化炭素排出量を4億1400万トン減らせるかもしれないという見解を示している。この削減量は、英国の2015年の二酸化炭素排出量の総量に匹敵する。もしオランダの自転車利用パターンに従えば、1年間の削減量が6億8600万トンに増えるかもしれない。


A reduction of 686 million tons of carbon emissions per year could be achieved if every person in the world cycled 2.6 kilometres per day, similar to cycling patterns in The Netherlands, a Communications Earth & Environment paper reports. The findings are based on a global assessment of bicycle production, ownership, and usage by country from 1962–2015.

The transport sector accounts for a quarter of global fuel-related greenhouse gas emissions, with half coming from private vehicles, including passenger cars and trucks. Cycling is known to reduce emissions, but only plays a small role in transport in most countries. Historical patterns of global bicycle production, trade, stock, and usage remain poorly characterized, preventing thorough investigation of their roles in sustainable road transport.

Gang Liu and colleagues complied a global dataset for bicycle ownership and usage by country from 1962–2015. They suggest that global production of bicycles increased at a higher rate than cars during this period, with China accounting for 65.7% of global bicycle production in 2015, followed by Brazil, India, Italy and Germany taking up 5%, 4%, 2%, and 2%, respectively. They also found that high bicycle ownership did not necessarily lead to high bicycle usage, which accounted for less than 5% of daily trips in most countries worldwide. The authors suggest that if people were to adopt bicycle use patterns similar to Denmark, by cycling 1.6 kilometres a day, a reduction of 414 million tons of carbon emissions could be achieved per year, which is similar to the UK’s total carbon emissions in 2015. If Dutch bicycle use patterns were followed, this could increase to 686 million tons per year.

The authors suggest an urgent need to promote sustainable cycling by supporting global policy, planning, and infrastructure development, including policies to discourage car use through tax, pro-bicycle education and culture, and effective bicycle lanes planning and construction. Worldwide pro-bicycle policies and infrastructure development, similar to those in Denmark and The Netherlands, could have significant untapped climate benefits, they conclude.

doi: 10.1038/s43247-022-00497-4


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