Public transportation

People who live in big cities routinely use buses, trains, and trams like these in the streets of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. These public transportation systems use energy much more efficiently than cars because they carry a lot of passengers, and often employ more efficient technology such as electric power. In rural areas, public transportation is less popular because the services are less frequent, so many people use cars. But rising fuel prices and road congestion could encourage more people to use public transportation in the future, and the services may improve as a result.

PEDAL PowER

Over short distances, bikes are quicker than cars, and the only greenhouse gas they release is the carbon dioxide in the breath of their riders. Beijing in China, seen here during the morning rush-hour, is famous for its crowds of cyclists. Many other cities also encourage cycling, and cars are virtually banned from some downtowns. The result is a much cleaner, safer, friendlier environment, and far fewer greenhouse gas emissions.

AIR TRAvEL

Every flight by a jet aircraft ejects a huge amount of carbon dioxide and other emissions at high altitude, in the most vulnerable part of the atmosphere. Propeller-driven aircraft are less polluting, but they are also much slower. Alternative fuels are being investigated, but they are unlikely to help. However, bigger, more fuel-efficient aircraft such as this Airbus A380 may enable airlines to control greenhouse gas emissions— if air travel stays at current levels.

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