Electric car plugged into charge point CREDIT: andreas160578 via Pixabay


Transport is the third largest source of greenhouse gases in the world, says Professor Tim Schwanen, director of Oxford’s Transport Studies Unit, and there are no easy answers

Published: 27 September 2021


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‘The move to electric vehicles is not a silver bullet,’ says Professor Tim Schwanen, director of Oxford’s Transport Studies Unit. ‘Transport is going to be a source of emissions for a long time.’

Professor Schwanen emphasises that electricity cannot be the sole route pursued to mitigate CO2 in the atmosphere - especially since some electricity still relies on coal-fired power stations and not all vehicle types, such as lorries, can be converted.

He insists that, in the longer term, research into Hydrogen fuel offers an opportunity to avoid CO2 emissions. But in the present, we need to move away from large heavy SUV-type vehicles in favour of smaller, lighter, more efficient cars.

But all motorised transport currently involved emissions and he argues for more ‘active’ transport – by bicycle or on foot or lightweight electric transport. And, he says, more use needs to be made of public transport.

COP26 ask: Address transport holistically – focus on technological change but also behaviour. That means more walking, more cycling, more e-scooters and less flying... We need to redesign our public spaces and connect them with attractive and affordable high speed rail networks.

Find out more about Professor Schwanen at

...and more about Oxford's climate and biodiversity research here:

Picture credit: andreas160578 via Pixabay