As the World Turns, Be Wary of Its Direction

Even in the post-truth world, if there is a fact of life which most – if not all – can agree on, it is that the world keeps turning. However, whilst astronomers may purport to know the direction of Earth’s travel, we, the Green Mobility Magazine Editorial Board, are less sure and more wary of that direction. 

As lawyers, researchers, and policy specialists by trade, the members of the Editorial Board have made careers out of analysing trends and facts and forecasting predictions for the future. As the world continues to flail from crisis to crisis, we project that reality, impatience, and hope will dominate the year ahead for sustainable transport stakeholders. 

Reality.

In early January, the Green Mobility Magazine held a panel discussion in Brussels and asked the speakers and audience, “What would 2024 hold for sustainable transport and clean mobility?” Consensus: at least in Europe, 2024 will be the year of the reality check. With interest rates at a five-year high, frustrating the ability of institutions to finance the projects we so desperately need, and pinching the indebted masses, it is not hard to see how the green transition, previously fuelled by cheap capital, may come to a grinding halt. Globally, the story is much the same, but the coup de grâce may come from the shocks of an increasingly stressed supply chain rather than unsustainable and inaccessible debt. 

(Im)patience.

No matter how one sees it, as a reality check, a decline, or a return to normality, a variation in the winds of change will invariably vex many. Businesspeople take note: in this scenario, calls for strong, impactful, and sudden action will become louder, and long-term certainty and planning will become a thing of the past. Banning short-haul flights across Europe? Taxing travellers for every trip? Rescinding the decision to phase out internal combustion engines? Binning investment support for green industries? All these proposals are not conspiratorial schemes fabricated on a message forum but are rather actual manifesto pledges considered by political parties across the globe. Yet, regardless of who is in charge, calls for action will grow, impatience will brew, and another fact of life will be once again proven true: for every action, there is always an equal and opposite reaction.

Hope.

As the tides of change rock the earth from side to side, three things: the planet’s yaw, Newton’s third law, and the importance of hope, shine true. Indeed, we, the Editorial Board, hope that the winds will, eventually, lead us to a new, greener and, more just direction. But until we see that new future peaks through the horizon, we encourage you, dear reader, to embrace the change, brace for the impact, and continue full steam ahead!

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