Tourists and ‘cariocas’ cycling around Rio on their fancy rental bikes may not appear to be contributing to environmental change, but this simple sightseeing tour has a huge impact on the cityscape they're enjoying.
Rio's re-forested green areas and widespread use of bikes, is helping to build a future of strong and sustainable development for the city, a fitting outcome as it gears up to Rio+20 this week.
Their potential to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and generate carbon credits that allow for greater investments in infrastructure is about to be measured by a ground-breaking program launched today by the World Bank and the City of Rio de Janeiro.
The Rio de Janeiro Low Carbon City Development Program will monitor and account for climate change mitigation actions across various municipal areas.
Certified to ISO standards the Program initially includes two initiatives: the urban reforestation and maintenance program, already underway, and the local bicycling system featuring a new bike rental project, called Bike Rio, and the expansion of bicycle paths.
Going forward, the data collection and analysis works will be applied to other local initiatives such as bus rapid transit systems, water and sanitation services expansion, recycling policies, and energy efficiency in buildings.
“The Low Carbon City Development Program is a first and important step towards a holistic view of the broader sustainability agenda of the city of Rio. It helps to distill the carbon component out of the municipal investments that will be carried out over the next years,” states Sebastian Scholz, an environment economist and World Bank expert.