ICT to reduce commute trips and associated vehicle emissions takes on greater urgency as U.N. report calls for “aggressive action” to cool global climate

Not long after the first Earth Day in April 1970, a Los Angeles aerospace engineer as engineers are wont to do saw a problem and came up with a solution to fix it. The problem Jack Nilles saw in his daily drive to the office was bumper to bumper traffic and bad air quality. His solution: substituting telecommunications for commute induced transportation demand by establishing satellite offices in “bedroom communities” where people lived to avoid the trip to centralized commuter offices. The environmental benefit of the solution Nilles proposed nearly five decades ago takes on increased urgency with the publication of a report issued today by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warning of rapidly accelerating global warming.

Absent aggressive action, many effects once expected only several decades in the future will arrive by 2040, and at the lower temperature, the report shows. “It’s telling us we need to reverse emissions trends and turn the world economy on a dime,” said Myles Allen, an Oxford University climate scientist and an author of the report.

To prevent 2.7 degrees of warming, the report said, greenhouse pollution must be reduced by 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030, and 100 percent by 2050.

Turning the global economy on a dime is challenging to say the least. Cutting motor vehicle emissions associated with commuting is one measure that could be implemented relatively quickly, especially considering today’s information and communications technology is far more advanced than when Nilles first came up with his idea in the early 1970s, thanks to the proliferation of Internet protocol-based telecommunications.

Brown: Californians need ‘lighter, more elegant’ lifestyle | Local News – KCRA Home

Brown said in order to deal with climate change, Californians will have to make changes in the way they live.”We’re going to be able to be create a lighter, more elegant lifestyle over time through technological innovation,” said Brown.”We do need to change our habits, live closer to where we work, reduce the power of our automobiles, or get them into an emission free kind of technology,” he said

Source: Brown: Californians need ‘lighter, more elegant’ lifestyle | Local News – KCRA Home

As governor of the state that innovated much of the world’s information and communications technology (ICT) that decentralizes knowledge work and obsoletes daily commuting to accomplish it, Brown’s view that Californians should “live closer to where we work” reflects outdated Industrial Age thinking.

Moreover, it ignores housing market economics that push affordable housing to the far edges of metro regions, necessitating the very commuting and its associated carbon emissions that Brown decries, as noted by The (San Francisco) Bay Area Council:

The housing market has reached a crisis point. Our region’s workforce is commuting longer times, from farther distances, and paying a greater share of household income for housing, reducing quality of life and forcing businesses and families to relocate.

Instead, Brown should encourage organizations to better utilize ICT to reduce daily commute trips and decentralize knowledge work out to the communities where people live so they can work at home or in shared co-working centers.