Uber in Europe: campaign urges company to cut emissions

uber in europe
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Environmental groups in the USA and Europe have launched a joint campaign calling on ridesharing firm Uber to address its growing climate impact.

NGOs in Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands, the UK and the USA have partnered on the #TrueCostOfUber campaign, which will target the company’s customers and municipal authorities; with the aim of exerting pressure on Uber to adopt cleaner mobility options. In London, which introduced an Ultra Low-Emission Zone in its city centre in April 2019, Uber has set a target of transitioning fully to electric vehicles by 2025; and the campaign is calling on the company to extend this pledge to all large cities in Europe and America.

Greg Archer, director of sustainable transport campaigning body Transport & Environment UK, said: “Forced by London’s clean air rules, Uber has already committed to [providing] 100% clean rides in London by 2025. This proves that it is a financially viable option for the company. If it wasn’t, they would have pulled out of the market already. So our question to Uber is: why not Bristol, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds? Are those second class citizens? Are their lungs any different?”

Data compiled for Transport & Environment shows that the number of Uber drivers in London increased from 25,000 in 2016 to 45,000 in 2018; with 3.6 million users recorded in 2019. Since 2012, when Uber began conducting its operations in London, the number of journeys in the capital using taxis and private hire vehicles (PHVs) has grown by around 25% – in the same period, carbon emissions from PHVs and taxis have risen by 23% across the UK.

Rebekah Whilden, campaign representative with US-based environmental NGO the Sierra Club, said: “Uber and Lyft aren’t fooling anyone anymore with their greenwashing. Cities and countries around the world are beginning to see the companies for what they are: corporate players putting profit over planet. You can’t claim sustainability if the data proves you’re doing the opposite: reducing transit ridership, worsening our air quality; and mistreating the people at the heart of your business model.”

Yoann Le Petit, new mobility expert with Transport & Environment, said: “Uber’s CEO tells us they ‘do the right thing, period.’ But the reality is that Uber is part of the traffic and pollution problem, adding car trips in our cities and adding to the climate and pollution crisis. If it wants to become part of the solution Uber needs to stop using petrol and diesel cars and rapidly shift to 100% electric rides. That’s the right thing to do, full stop.”

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