Asia's greenhouse gas 'to treble'
BBCNews.com, Dec. 14, 2006
Asia's greenhouse gas emissions will treble over the next 25 years, according to a report commissioned by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
The report provides detailed analysis of the link between transport and climate change in Asia.
It says that its estimate of future levels of greenhouse gas could even be an optimistic assessment.
Air pollution and congestion will seriously hamper the ability to move people and goods effectively, it warns.
The report, Energy Efficiency and Climate Change: Considerations for On-Road Transport in Asia, says that Asia currently has low levels of personal motorized transport, which in many cases are motorcycles.
But it says that these levels are likely to increase significantly as incomes in these countries grows and the urban population becomes bigger.
The report points out that China is already the world's fourth largest economy, and the number of cars and utility vehicles could increase by 15 times more than present levels to more than 190 million vehicles over the next 30 years.
In India, traffic growth is likely to increase by similar levels over the same time period, the report says.
Carbon dioxide emissions from vehicles could rise 3.4 times for China and 5.8 times for India.
"Progress toward reducing the growth of greenhouse gases from the transport sector will require partnerships and involvement of a wide range of stakeholders," Bindu Lohani, director-general of the ADB's sustainable development department, wrote in the foreword to the report.
He said that addressing these problems would mean "changing existing travel behaviour patterns and modifying urban development patterns to minimize the type, length, and frequency of trips that people need to take".
Last month, the British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett urged India to help in efforts to tackle climate change.
She made the call ahead of a report commissioned by the British government which said that rich nations must act now to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Meanwhile a conference in Indonesia has heard that while some Asian governments should be praised for toughening vehicle emissions standards, with many phasing out leaded gasoline, much work still needs to be done.
"Transport is growing faster in most cities so transport emissions are a big part of the problem," Lew Fulton, a transport expert with the UN Environmental Programme, told the three-day Better Air Quality Conference 2006 in the city of Yogyakarta.
"We're not only seeing increases in pollutant emissions. We're seeing huge increases in fuel consumption which is coupled tightly with (carbon dioxide) emissions," he said.
"It's costing cities and countries ever increasing amounts of foreign exchange with the high oil prices that we've got."
The World Health Organization said increased pollution in Asia is estimated to cause as many as 537,000 premature deaths each year, as well as a rise in cardiopulmonary and respiratory illnesses.