Have you noticed the new bike fixit stations around BYU Campus? The stations near the ASB, RB, CB, and JRCB area are now equipped with pumps and tools for bikes. This initiative is part of a greater conversation occurring worldwide on the merit of biking communities and the Intended Nationally Determined Contributors (INDC’s) commitment to lowering greenhouse emissions.
Earlier this year, London, following the examples of great biking cities like Amsterdam, Berlin, Barcelona, Copenhagen, and Paris, announced plans to create a new Cyclist Superhighway in the heart of the city. This city’s extensive change to existing infrastructure was supported by 84 percent of those polled.
Today, the Obama Administration lay out a national plan to curb greenhouse gas emissions by a third to meet the deadline of the of the Intended Nationally Determined Contributors (INDCs). Despite Republican opposition, the Administration has made good on its promise to provide a framework by the end of this month. China, India, Brazil, and Russia have not made the deadline, estimating plans to come about in June or October.
These individual national blueprints to curb greenhouse emissions look towards the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, which will be held in Paris November 30 to December 11. The overarching mission is to keep global average temperatures from increasing above 2 degrees celsius. This plan has been criticized for being both too conservative, too liberal, as well as impossible. With national plans already arriving behind schedule the UNFCCC has its work cut out for establishing a global plan by the end of 2015, as the agreement stipulates.
Changes on a global scale cannot advance until initiatives like BYU’s Bike Fixit Stations become part of local cultures. The second highest offender in the release of greenhouse emissions, the United States, is addicted to the use of automobiles and the consumption of fuels that increase green house emissions. Small changes are occurring locally. Six of top 10 cities for biking are in the Western United States. As we continue to change attitudes and cultures locally, global solutions will be able to gain steam. Next time you get ready to come to campus, think about biking. When it comes to climate change, global issues are local issues.