One of the most significant findings coming out of the COP26 summit is that we must double global public transit investments to meet climate change targets.
This week, many of the world’s great powers are participating in the COP26 summit. Diplomats and politicians are trying to come together around a framework to reduce emissions and fight climate change. Simultaneously, the federal government passed a $1.7 trillion infrastructure package, with $284 billion slated for Maryland.
C40 Cities and International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) released a joint report during the summit. The report outlined the need to double global public transit funding to $208 billion per year to meet the 1.5°C targets and dodge the worst impacts of climate change. The top 100 cities make up nearly a quarter of the world’s GDP.
The report highlights how electrifying transit fleets, expanding bus and rail infrastructure, and improving system accessibility would not only slash transport emissions and air pollution but also boost quality of life and economic opportunities, particularly for low-income urban residents.
Why Does It Matter:
Maryland’s own Ben Grumble, Secretary of the Environment, is participating in the summit. Even though this is an international event, it still has a major impact on Maryland. Washington D.C. and the outlying area is one of the 100 major cities cited in the report. The D.C. metro has well over six million residents, a significant portion of which live in Maryland. How Washington and Annapolis approach infrastructure coming out of COP26 will be life-changing.
Reports that the Chesapeake Bay is warming and stories about historic flooding should not be lost on policymakers, at any level. Investments in projects like the purple line, bus rapid transit, electric vehicles, pedestrian infrastructure, etc. will determine the severity of climate-related challenges in Maryland. How County leaders choose to use this once-in-a-generation investment will have repercussions for several generations. We will ultimately decide how this story plays out, and we should not waste our chance to do something.