New Indian drive for low carbon transport
Launched in New Delhi, a new EUR 2.49 million three-year project - funded by the German International Climate Initiative and supported by the United Nations Environment Programme - will support the Indian Government's efforts to align transport growth with the country's climate change agenda and national development plan.
Boasting the world's second largest population, India is ranked as the world's fourth largest green house gas (GHG) emitter although its per capita emissions remain well below the world average. But population growth in the last two decades has been coupled with a rapid increase of private vehicles and a switch from rail to road transport across the freight and passenger sectors.
According to a 2007 estimate, India's transport sector is responsible for 12.9 percent of the country's greenhouse gas emissions - impacting air quality, public health, road safety and sustainable urban development.
India's National Action Plan on Climate Change (NSPCC) recognizes the need to lower GHG emissions from transport through the adoption of an integrated sustainability approach that encourages the move towards enhanced energy efficiency in transport, higher penetration of biofuels, sustainable urban planning, improved public awareness and participation and the promotion of public transport services.
Endorsed by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, the NSPCC comprises two key interventions: the development of a national action plan for low-carbon transport and the design of low-carbon mobility plans for four major cities across India. The cities component will be carried out in close co-ordination with the Ministry of Urban Development.
Key local partners include the Indian Institute of Management, the Centre of Environmental Planning and Technology University in Ahmedabad, and the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi.
The outcomes of the national low-carbon transport action plan will include the development of Sustainability Indicators; an assessment of transport sector emissions and projections of future emissions till 2050; policy recommendations and a road map for the development of a sustainable transport system, including the identification of technology and financial needs and international co-operation options.
The cities component of the project will produce a methodology for developing low-carbon mobility plans at the city level and will identify appropriate infrastructure and technology options for emissions reduction and climate change adaptation measures as part of these plans.
The project will also create an on-line network for information sharing and co-ordination to facilitate better cooperation among stakeholders and to encourage public engagement.
It is hoped that the newly-launched low carbon transport project will create a model transport pathway for India that can serve as an inspiration to other developing countries.