However you slice it, cars just aren’t that big a part of an ostensible CO2 problem. Personal cars sit idle 95% of the time. Planes, trains, ships, trucks, buses and other commercial vehicles account for well over half the emissions associated with the transport sector globally. And the transport sector itself accounts for only 14% of all emissions.
Now for the knee-jerk response from groups like Union of Concerned Scientists: Yes, but road-vehicle emissions are a significant share of total emissions in the U.S. and Europe.
This is a perfect example of the politics of the meaningless gesture, the dominant motif in climate policy. The planet doesn’t care where the emissions happen. The U.S. and Europe could ban driving altogether and it wouldn’t make a sizable difference.
That’s not why they want to ban driving.