CHARLOTTE, N.C. (PINPOINT WEATHER) – A final, dire warning, this week, a new report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says we need “transformational change” to tackle climate change.

But the hope is we already have the solutions.

To narrow down solutions, we need to examine the problem. In North Carolina, transportation is our biggest emitter. 40% of our emissions come from cars, trucks, trains, and planes. So, one local nonprofit says that’s where we should start.

Sustain Charlotte says better city planning is the first step to more efficient transportation. More compact city growth and less sprawl can help us avoid car dependence. It will make public transit trips shorter and easier. This can also create a more walkable and bikeable cityscape.

Shannon Binns is the executive director of Sustain Charlotte.

“Think about it… are there ways you can reduce your trips taken by car?” he questioned. “Can you combine vehicle trips? Can you carpool? Can you work from home? Can you try walking or biking to something that’s maybe only a couple of miles from home that you haven’t tried before?”

He calls the climate report sobering, but he’s optimistic about these solutions, many of which we can implement today.

“Even though we need to make a major investment and a transformative investment in our transportation system to be more sustainable, there are things we can do today,” he added.

Binns also says it’s much easier to let our voices be heard locally and encourages people to join their meetings on Charlotte’s mobility plan.

Because it’s not just a planet solution, it’s a people solution!

Fewer cars mean less pollution and cleaner air in our lungs. More walkable, bikeable cities mean more movement and exercise for our bodies.

It also makes money sense. Cars are expensive to buy and upkeep. Low-income families may not be able to afford it, which can help make the city more equitable and inclusive.

To read the entire UN climate report, click here.