Prisoner’s dilemma is a well-known concept in game theory that shows why two completely rational individuals might not cooperate, even if it appears that it is in their best interests to do so. Prisoner’s dilemma can be used to explain why entities of a different order have long been uncooperative when it comes to climate change. These entities vary from individuals to countries, and the topics range from waste management to emission control. However, in the last few years, the focus and awareness on climate change has increased greatly and the costs to implement sustainable policies have reduced so much that we have started taking more and more meaningful steps to combat it. However, we have to step up our game if we want to reverse the trends unfolding right in front of our eyes because of climate change. Erratic weather changes in North America and Europe, thawing permafrost in Siberia, and rising sea levels are some of the most prominent of such changes that demonstrate how serious the issue is and how tough the battle against the rising tide will be. Not only the governments and large organisations but also, we, as individuals, must play our roles in the fight against climate change. In this regard, using a fuel-efficient public transport system is a significant and convenient one that we can pick.
For various fuel categories, petrol, diesel, or electric, public transport vehicles are more environment-friendly alternatives compared to personal vehicles. If we consider a bus and a personal car, we will notice that per capita CO2 emission is much higher in the latter’s case. A BEIS (UK) report from 2019 shows that an average local bus emits 82g of CO2 whereas a petrol-driven car emits 180g per kilometer. Now if we add the number of people that the bus carries in contrast with that of multiple cars, the difference becomes astronomical.
Still, we, as individuals, often shy away from changing our preferred modes of transportation. Sometimes, the absence of a suitable alternative compels us to use our personal vehicles. This is more applicable in regions where the public transport system is inadequate or simply non-existent. However, in medium to high population density areas of most Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries, this is not the case. For example, if we consider cities and towns in Ireland, we will find a robust public transport system available. So, using the public transport system can help us to vastly decrease the CO2 emission.
The problem of traffic congestion can also be tackled by switching over to the public transport system. If done in a planned and comprehensive way public transport can reduce traffic congestion dramatically. Not only this will reduce the commute time but also help us reduce the CO2 emission further simply by the virtue of having less vehicles on the streets, therefore reducing CO2 emissions greatly.
Finally, it is also worthwhile to note that most public transport vehicles are now more and more driven by cleaner fuel and electricity. Compared to that, the scale in the personal vehicle segment is much lower. That makes the public transportation system even more environment-friendly.
Now if we gradually start using the public transport system more and decrease the usage of personal vehicles, we will contribute to the reduction of CO2 emissions in a convenient and significant way. After all, we share the world and only in unity can we make significant changes against climate change and to safeguard our planet for our own and future generations.
- “How our daily travel harms the planet,” BBC Future. [Online]. Available: https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200317-climate-change-cut-carbon-emissions-from-your-commute. [Accessed: 22-Dec-2021].
- M. Buchanan, “The benefits of Public Transport,” Nature News, 03-Sep-2019. [Online]. Available: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41567-019-0656-8. [Accessed: 22-Dec-2021].
- “The prisoner’s dilemma,” Encyclopædia Britannica. [Online]. Available: https://www.britannica.com/science/game-theory/The-prisoners-dilemma. [Accessed: 22-Dec-2021].
- “Gov.uk.” [Online]. Available: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/904212/conversion-factors-2019-condensed-set-v01-02.xls. [Accessed: 22-Dec-2021].
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