Podgorica, 30 January 2016
More than 150 cyclists took part in a 29th Critical Mass bicycle ride in Montenegrin capital organised by the NGO Bicycle.me in cooperation with the UN System in Montenegro and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration. With Sustainable Development Goal 13 - Climate Action at the heart of the initiative, the event was dedicated to recently adopted Paris Agreement on climate change, signed by 195 countries, including Montenegro, at the historic Paris Climate Conference COP21.
“By signing Paris Agreement, Montenegro committed to reduce 30% of its green-house gas emissions by 2030, as a part of the global efforts to keep the increase in the average temperature below 2 °C above the pre-industrial levels,” said Fiona McCluney, UN Resident Coordinator in Montenegro, who also cycled at this Critical Mass ride.
The pledge of 195 countries to reduce greenhouse gasses emissions aims to avoid irreversible and catastrophic consequences of global warming – rising sea levels, severe droughts and floods, devastating storms and the lack of water and food. Reductions are to be achieved in a number of ways, including through increasing energy efficiency, advancing industrial technologies, better utilizing renewable energy sources and modernizing electro-energy sector. Cycling is certainly one of the ways to contribute to a decrease of GHG emission.
“Besides saving the planet, cycling is beneficial in many ways, primarily for our health. It reduces risks from a number of illnesses, such as high blood pressure, cardio-vascular diseases, diabetes, obesity, anxiety. In addition, it does not generate noise and it is also extremely cheap way of transport”
The ride ended up in front of the UN Eco House, a fully green building which is headquarter of United Nations System in Montenegro, where Ms. McCluney greeted participants, highlighting the importance of CO2 savings by cycling in comparison with driving.
"How much did we save today? Not much really, only probably 280kg of CO2 – or 560 yoga balls such as this one, but every little helps in reaching the targets that the country has agreed to," said McCluney.
The Critical Mass event took place as part of European Mobility Week’s Mobility Actions series, which offers a platform to NGOs, citizen groups, employers and other organisations to promote their own local Mobility Actions. The platform offers inspiration to others and provides a basis for collaboration with cities participating in the Week. Actions that generate the greatest impact will be invited to share their experience at the annual workshops for the campaign, which are held in spring.