Yes, 15000 km is a quite long distance.
I was thinking about it earlier – what distance will I reach on the two year anniversary of driving a velomobile? The answer was in the evening of the 30th of April 2016 a very simple amount of kilometers to remember – 15000 km.
It was the 1:th of May 2014 when Tarja Leinonen and I drove over the bridge between Aavasaksa in Finland and Övertorneå in Sweden. Those two velomobiles were the two first velomobiles in Norrbotten county.
My first thought when writing about this anniversary was to think about the savings of CO2-emissions.
From ECF (European Cyclists´ Federation) I found this calculation about quantifying CO2 savings of cycling. There is also a clearer article in Swedish by Klas Elm.
Not going into all details but just writing down the estimated numbers:
• Biking creates 21 gram CO2 per kilometer (21 g CO2/km)
• Driving a car creates 271 gram CO2 per kilometer (271 g CO2/km)
This would mean that every biked kilometer saves 250 gram CO2 compared to driving a car.
Then 15000 km would save 3750 kg of CO2 compared to driving a car. There is this term CO2e that means all greenhouse (GH) gases that are emitted in the calculation, but just to make the text clearer I only write CO2.
How much is that saving?
The total emissions in the World 2014 was 35,9 GtCO2 [Gigaton CO2] per year according to Global Carbon Project.
Writing that to kilograms makes a very long number 35 900 000 000 000 kilogram [kg].
So, my yearly saving then is 0.00000000522284% of the global emissions. Counted on my yearly emission savings of 1875 kg.
If all the people on the earth, 7 424 720 000 [at this moment 25:th of May 2016] would save the same amount of CO2 every year then the total savings would be 13 921 350 000 000 kg or 13,9 GtCO2 [Gigaton CO2]. Ok, that would not stop the Climate Change, but it would make a difference. The rest has the to be done through other means…
And yes, my driving with a velomobile is symbolic in this scale. But very much fun!
How much is 15000 km?
The amount of transportation by biking that I made during these two years is 7500 km per year.
That can be compared to yearly average travel with car for a person in
• Sweden – 6620 km
• Norrbotten County – 7580 km
• Övertorneå eco-municipality [where I live] – 8730 km
The numbers from Miljömål by the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency [Naturvårdsverket].
I think that we all have to do what we are able to. It is my Earth and it is yours equally. It is ours. And we are in much of hurry to stop the destruction – the emissions should have stopped already, we have only years left to avoid the 2 degrees threshold.
A person that takes a flight from Sweden to Thailand and back home will emit 6 times more than I have achieved in saving during a year.
A average person in my own municipality, the eco-municipality of Övertorneå, is emitting almost 0,5 ton more CO2 from car-driving than I achieve in saving during a year. To just catch up one of my fellow citizens I would need to bike an additional 2000 km.
Well, I have to admit that it would actually be fun to bike those additional kilometers – but that will not solve the global problem.
It is really as mentioned a symbolic thing, but it has been so much fun!
And the place where these magic kilometers come on the display was very near home here in Juoksengi. On the photos below you´ll see the crossing to Vyöni and also Misha in front of the village´s church.