Prioritising Climate Change and Road Safety at the same time

Steve Abley was honoured to present the Climate Change and Carbon Zero plenary session at the Australasian Road Safety Conference held in Ōtautahi Christchurch from 28-30 September 2022.

Slowing and mitigating climate change is an urgent concern for us all. Recent studies show that at the current 1.1 degrees of global warming, we may already be triggering some of the climate tipping points.

In New Zealand alone, our national greenhouse gas emissions rose by 26% between 1990 and 2019. Of that, transport was the biggest contributor. Emissions from road transport grew by 93%, with cars contributing to 54% of those emissions. Yet, a third of all car trips are under two kilometres and could easily be switched to other modes of transport[1].

Cutting carbon emissions and adapting to our changing climate are crucial and urgent challenges we must face together. And our transport system has a key role to play in reducing these emissions.

In all the conversations we’re having about climate change and decreasing greenhouse gas emissions, climate change and road safety objectives need to be looked at together. 

In July 2022, the Australasian College of Road Safety adopted a position statement on climate change and road safety.  One of our speakers today, Dr Oscar Oviedo-Trespalacios, was part of the team that developed the position statement.

One of the recommended actions from the statement is that both the private and public sectors need to encourage sustainable transport for work-related travel and commuting. 

Helpfully, earlier this year Abley launched a software product named CarbonWise.  CarbonWise helps employers to measure and report on people’s commuting emissions, so they can encourage and potentially incentive those same people to make better transport choices. 

This is just one way Abley is delivering on our vision to inspire positive change, and contributing to a safer and more sustainable tomorrow.

The Australian Road Safety Conference, and specifically this Climate Change and Carbon Zero session provided the opportunity to hear from leading experts, learning about the tomorrow we can create together today.  I encourage everyone to review the presentations made in this session and consider how your organisation can do more to combat the impact of climate change. 

[1] Source: EECA

Steve Abley ARSC speech