Current transport policies and strategies in the major ASEAN countries fall short to meet the required 2050 per capita transport emission reductions needed to avoid a 2 degree Celsius increase in global temperature. Under a business–as-usual scenario total CO2 emissions from the transport sector in the ASEAN countries are expected to triple from 2005-2050 and will reach 1.2 billion tons.
Think tanks met at the side event of the Better Air Quality (BAQ) 2012 Conference in Hong Kong to discuss transport policies and measures to ensure that climate change related impacts such as extreme weather events and sea level rise will be averted. The main focus of the event was to identify the challenges, and to vision a better future by making policy interventions right now at the current and upcoming mega-cities
Kazuo Inaba, Director General at the Japan Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism highlighted that – “to effectively figh climate change there is a need for cooperation and sharing of experience,” and introduced the work of the ASEAN-Japan Transport Partnership as an example of such cooperation.
“It is important to include private sector to support implementation of the vision for low emissions transport in Vietnam”, said Khuat Viet Hung, Vice-Director General from the Ministry of Transport in Vietnam. Deputy Director General Chanchai Suwisuttagul of the Office of Traffic and Transport Planning in Thailand provided an overview of their upcoming Environmentally Sustainable Transport Masterplan which will include about 120 projects focusing on promoting better public transport, better railways, improvement of vehicle and fuel technologies, and others; and include specific CO2 reduction targets.
ADB is shifting its transport lending towards more sustainable transport as specified in the ADB Sustainable Transport Initiative. ADB also took a lead role in the development of a voluntary commitment of $175 billion for more sustainable transport by 8 multilateral development banks at the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in June, 2012. “ADB plans to invest $30billion in the transport sector of the Asia and Pacific region over the next ten years”, Lloyd Wright of the ADB said.
“Fuel subsidies in the ASEAN amounted to US$25 billion in 2011 alone according to the IEA, and private expenditures on vehicles and fuels could amount to nearly US$500 billion over the coming decade. It is clear that there are enough resources within the region for sustainable and low emissions transport, if we can just unlock these resources“, said Lew Fulton from University of California at Davis.
Danang Parikesit, Professor at the Universitas Gadjah Mada and Adviser to the Minister of Public Works in Indonesia, expressed the need for better data and these kinds of tools -- visioning and backcasting, to aid government agencies in analyzing and understanding the impacts of transport policies. Indonesia, as the first country in ASEAN region to submit a transport Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action (NAMA) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, will benefit from the tools in order to test various transport policy packages that will be implemented.
Among the largest potentials for emission reductions are the “Avoid” type of policies – that actually avoid that motorized transport is needed. “In order to change current emissions trajectories, “avoid” policies, such as improvement of walkability and better land-use-transport planning, should be the foundation of low emissions transport”, says Alvin Mejia, Program Manager, Clean Air Asia.