Greening our transport system with CDM projectsby Mahfujur Rahman
DEVELOPMENT of transport sector is a prerequisite to economic growth and also a significant contributor to the global greenhouse gas emissions. This is indeed an enormous threat to the local environment and ever growing mega cities like Dhaka and immediate actions are required to reduce the impact of transport-related emission. Similarly, climate change is one of the harshest calamities faced by mankind today. Many scientific studies have already substantiated that climate change is taking place as a result global warming pushed by persistent greenhouse gas emissions to the earth’s atmosphere. The opportunity of undertaking clean development mechanism extended as the Kyoto protocol entered into its second commitment period up to 2020, which allows the developed countries to undertake CDM project in the developing countries as well as developing countries to implement CDM projects.
Human-induced accelerated emission of greenhouse gases is also linked with high population and luxury. However, pollution of atmosphere and thereby contribution to global warming multiplied when we use inefficient poor technologies in sectors of economy such as power and energy, industrial production, transport and forest management. Transport is also a neglected sector for CDM projects in Bangladesh as well as on the global scale. Only 28 of about 7,135 CDM projects proposals registered with the CDM executive board to date concern transport. Encouragingly, the number of CDM projects in the transport sector in the pipeline has increased in the past few years.
The CDM projects relating the transport sector around the world is significantly less than other sectors such as energy and waste. It is extrapolated that transportation would be responsible for more than 31 per cent of the total greenhouse gas emission worldwide by 2020. With the growing urban population, oil use for transport is three times more in developing countries compared to the developed countries. However, due to the poor infrastructure and policy reinforcement, transport is a highly neglected sector. Though we find some progresses in recent times, the development of transport sector of Bangladesh is hugely ineffective due to a variety of problems including population growth. The transport infrastructures, i.e. roads, bridges are just insufficient for the number of vehicles. Similarly, this large number of vehicles is not sufficient for the incoming and already overgrown population of the city centres.
Clean development mechanism is the only Kyoto mechanism which actually involves developing countries in the mitigation process by investing in innovative projects in developing host countries. By doing this they can then count these reductions towards their own targets. Through emission reduction projects in developing countries they sell the certified emission reduction to the developed country which could stimulate international investment and provide the essential resources for cleaner economic growth in the developing countries like Bangladesh.
Potential sectors for CDM projects are power and energy, industrial manufacturing, transport, waste management and forestry. CDM projects in transport sector can be undertaken by implementing fuel-efficiency measures, introduction of alternate fuels, improvement in public transport, urban planning and traffic management and Reduction of leakage in transport, handling and distribution of oil and gas.
The three major possibilities for CDM in transport entail reduction of emission per kilometre; reduction of emission per unit transported, and reduction of distances or number of trips. Potential project type, in achieving the above possibilities in this sector, may include: fuel switch, efficiency improvement and modal shift.
However, since CDM is a market-based mechanism, with appropriate striking methodologies, Bangladesh could benefit from selling multiple projects. The aforementioned projects implemented are exemplary and Bangladesh can readily follow the already approved methodologies that have been applied to the above six successful transport projects.
If countries like India, which has comparable city infrastructure and urban landscape to Bangladesh, can succeed Bangladesh can also achieve similar outcome. A mega city like Dhaka dominated by private transport can save up to 50 per cent of CO2 just by switching to public transportation and more car-pooling.
Introduction of more elevated expressways and highways can contribute towards achieving a significant amount of CERs as this would reduce the distance between the two point sources, and allow faster transport by reducing traffic.
Feasibility study should be carried out whether the Padma Bridge could be an example for potential CDM project. This 6.15-kilometre-long bridge will not only connects the forlorn southeast part of the country but will also provide a means of faster and efficient transportation to the rest of the country. Several other expressways are underway in the city of Dhaka and Chittagong should be considered as potential CDM projects.
The conversion of CNG from fossil fuel based transport fuel is another noteworthy shift to more environmentally friendly substitute that produces significantly less greenhouse gas than diesel, propane or gasoline. Since 2003, not a single auto-rickshaw is to be found without CNG in Dhaka. Projects like this (fuel switch) could be considered as CDM transport projects. But we did not claim the benefit. The potential CDM transport projects can include bus rapid transit systems, rail-based mass transportation, greenhouse gas-efficient fleets, technology/fuel switch and mode switch freight or passenger
However, there are several barriers on way of CDM projects such as lack of economic viability, the difficulty for private companies to participate in public sector transport improvement project and the lack of expertise in the field. There is also methodological problem associated with transport projects. For example, additionality, baselines and boundaries and the lack of recognition of co-benefits are difficult to prove. Another problem in CDM project development in transport sector is that transport infrastructure is public property. Only government can undertake the actual development project for which government can claim CDM benefits. But you know how the bureaucratic systems in developing countries like Bangladesh hinder innovative concepts to be implemented by government.
It is, however, possible to overcome these barriers with appropriate project idea. It is important to calculate the baseline through methodical survey and estimate CER that responds to the process of CDM validation and registration. There are a lot of prospect in Bangladesh for this sector, which in turn can provide bimodal benefit to both the client and the host country. More thorough studies are required to identify and address possible areas of CDM projects in transport sector in Bangladesh.
Mahfujur Rahman worked under CDM Baseline Development and Capacity Building project funded by the BCCTF.
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