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A woman unlocks a CitiBike in New York in November 2020. Photo: John Lamparski/Getty Image

A new paper finds that New York's CitiBike bike-sharing system has prevented emissions of carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide and saved energy.

The big picture: Bike sharing has become increasingly popular in cities around the world, and the new research calculates the measurable effect the systems can have on climate change and other environmental challenges.

By the numbers: In a paper published Tuesday in the journal Cities, a team of researchers calculated that from 2014 to 2017 — the first three full years of its operation — New York’s CitiBike system saved the equivalent of 13,370 tons of oil and reduced CO2 emissions by 30,070 tons and NOx emissions by 80 tons respectively.

  • "This statistic suggests that bike sharing is the right model for supporting commuting systems in cities to decrease CO2 emissions," the authors wrote.

Between the lines: Notably, the savings were greatest during the morning and evening rush hours, when bike-sharing use was heaviest and gridlock traffic ensured automobiles would be emitting more per mile.

The catch: In 2017, New York City's transportation sector emitted 18.9 million tons of CO2, which means the amount saved by CitiBike is just a drop in a much larger bucket.

The bottom line: Expanding bike-share use is a net win for the climate. But for a dense city like New York, getting people back on mass transit is even more important.

Go deeper

How the Biden climate agenda could be rescued after Manchin stunner

A bent stop sign in a storm-damaged neighborhood after Hurricane Ida on Sept. 4, 2021, in Grand Isle, La. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

Sen. Joe Manchin's (D-W.Va.) declaration Sunday that he opposes President Biden's signature climate and social policy legislation makes the administration's task of meeting its climate goals far more difficult.

Why it matters: The setback to slashing emissions comes as scientists say time is running out to avoid far worse impacts from global warming.

Judge nixes Gulf of Mexico oil leases in climate-focused ruling

Tug boats prepare to tow the semi-submersible drilling platform Noble Danny Adkins through the Port Aransas Channel into the Gulf of Mexico on December 12, 2020 in Port Aransas, Texas. Photo: Tom Pennington/Getty Images

A federal judge on Thursday canceled the Biden administration's late 2021 sale of new oil-and-gas drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico.

Why it matters: The ruling that the greenhouse gas emissions analysis by the Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) was insufficient is a win for green groups that challenged the decision, as they seek to curb fossil fuel production.

45 million Americans under winter storm watches near New England

Computer model projection showing the winds moving around the powerful East Coast storm on Saturday Jan. 29, 2022. Credit: https://earth.nullschool.net

Nearly 45 million Americans are under winter weather alerts and warnings from North Carolina to northeastern Maine Thursday night, as a major winter storm threatens the region.

Why it matters: It is predicted to be the biggest blizzard since 2018 to strike the Northeast with more than 2 feet of snow possible in parts of eastern Massachusetts, according to the National Weather Service.

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