CO2 emissions in ASEAN from transport sector will double by 2050, warns energy agency

Sunday 15 June 2014

Traffic in Ho Chi Minh city. CO2 emissions from transport sector in Vietnam is projected to go up to 144 million tonnes in 2050 from 20.3 million tonnes in 2005 unless mitigation measures are undertaken (image courtesy Wikipedia)

If  the International Energy Agency (IEA)  is to be believed, the amount of carbon emissions from transport in ASEAN nations will double by 2050. At the same time, carbon emissions from transport in developed world will remain almost unchanged. The current emissions from transport account for nearly one-fourth of the total amount of artificially released CO2. IEA predicts that the share of emissions from developing countries, which is 35 per cent today, will nearly double to 66 per cent by 2050.

The IEA report, ‘A Study of Long-Term Transport Action Plan for ASEAN’, published in April this year, aims to provide traffic policy recommendations for carbon emissions reduction from transport in ASEAN in 2050 to the defined target value of 0.33 tonnes per capita.
 
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), there is a need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to half of the current level or by 80 per cent, depending on scenarios, by 2050 in order to stabilise our climate—to limit the future rise in temperature to 2°C or less (read latest IPCC report) .

The IEA study covers 10 ASEAN countries—Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia, and Brunei—and proposes measures for each country to reduce its carbon emissions from transport sector (see box).

The report points out that since the population and economy of these countries are expected to grow in future, traffic will also steadily rise and become one of the major problems in Asia. This makes it imperative to take mitigation measures from now on in order to reduce carbon emissions and, thus, global warming by 2050.
 
The study analysed the transport sector of each of these ASEAN countries and produced individual country reports. The analysis also included societal factors and development priorities in order to identify appropriate policy packages for each country. The report suggests that the policies to reduce carbon dioxide from transport in these countries will be evaluated and introduced every five years. A major shift to cleaner fuels and introduction of more public transport in place of private motorised vehicles is recommended as a step that almost every country should take in order to reduce carbon emissions from the transport sector.

The study recommends that there is a need for behavioural change of people in ASEAN region in order to reduce CO2 emissions. There is a need to introduce improved high quality public and non-motorised transport using new technology. A multi-stage, multi-sectoral cooperation is required where focus is shifted from primary to secondary and tertiary cities as these will be the main areas of growth leading up to 2050. Freight and inter-urban travel should be given more attention. A large portion of CO2 emission is due to inter-urban travel, especially with the increasing use of trucks and cargo trailers, but there are at present few policy options for such means of transport. The report, therefore, stresses on developing policies to reduce CO2 emissions.
 

Country reports stress on public transport, clean fuels
 
Brunei
  • Total carbon emissions from transport in 2005 was 1.0 million tonnes
  • In the business as usual scenario, total carbon emissions from transport in 2050 will be 1.4 million tonnes. The largest emitters will be cars and trucks. Cars will contribute up to 33 per cent of all transport emissions as citizens continue to utilise cars as their primary choice in future.
  • If mitigation measures are taken, the carbon emissions from transport can be reduced by 83 per cent. This can be done by strengthening public transport.
  • Measures suggested: put in place policies which incentivise public transport and discourage use of cars; convert to public transport that runs on natural gas. Advanced technologies such as fuel cells, hybrids and electric vehicles are options to be looked into.

Laos PDR
  • Total carbon emissions from transport sector in 2005 was 1.1 million tonnes
  • In business as usual scenario total carbon emissions from transport in 2050 will be 11.2 million tonnes. The largest emitters will be trucks, cars and motorcycles, accounting for a total of 48 per cent of national CO2 emissions.
  • If mitigation steps are taken then, carbon emissions will be 72 per cent lower (3 million tonnes) than in business as usual scenario.
  • This can be done by increasing the share of large buses in place of numerous small buses and these should run on clean fuel.

Malaysia
  • Total carbon emissions from transport sector in 2005 was 4.3 million tonnes
  • In business as usual scenario, total carbon emissions from transport sector in 2050 will increase more than two-fold to 90.5 million tonnes.
  • If mitigation steps are taken then there can be a reduction of total CO2 emissions in 2050 from 90.5 million tonnes (business as usual) to 36.3 million tonnes, a reduction of 60 per cent.
  • Methods suggested to reduce carbon emissions: embrace public transport as backbone of passenger transport. Stricter policies to be introduced to shift more freight activity to railways.

Myanmar
  • Total carbon emissions from transport sector in 2005 was 2 million tonnes
  • Under business as usual scenario, the total carbon emissions from the sector in 2050 is projected to be 35 million tonnes.
  • If mitigation measures are used, then the carbon emissions from transport can be reduced to 20 million tonnes
  • The methods suggested to reduce carbon emissions are: CNG promotion for freight transport and buses, development of navigable inland waterways for freight in order to reduce road freight load, rail development and modernisation. Introduction of hybrid vehicles is also important.

Singapore
  • Total carbon emissions from transport sector in 2005 was 6 million tonnes
  • In business as usual scenario, total carbon emission from transport in 2050 will be 8.9 million tonnes.
  • If mitigation measures are unertaken, then the total carbon emissions from the transport sector will be 2.9 million tonnes in 2050. Mitigation in Singapore will require aggressive promotion of alternative fuel-powered vehicles.
  • Measures recommended to reduce carbon emissions are: increase in buses to improve public transport service and motivate people to use it; run the transport modes on cleaner fuels and energy efficient technology

Thailand
  • Total carbon emission from the transport sector in 2005 was 51.8 million tonnes
  • Under the business as usual scenario, carbon emissions from transport sector is expected to increase to 91.2 million tonnes
  • If mitigation measures are applied, then carbon emissions from transport sector can be reduced to 30.7 million tonnes.
  • It is recommended that buses number should be increased for passenger transport. It is also important to shift substantial freight transport towards railways and waterways to reduce the load on roads

Vietnam
  • The total emissions from transport in 2005 were 20.3 million tonnes; national road transport emissions totalled 16.8 million tonnes. Motorcycles are the largest emitters in Vietnam, contributing 53 per cent of CO2 emissions in 2005
  • Under the business as usual scenario, carbon emissions from the transport sector are expected to be increase to 144 million tonnes while road transport will have reached 126 million tonne. It is estimated that there will be an annual increase in total CO2 emissions of 4.5 per cent.
  • If mitigation step are taken then the carbon emissions from the transport sector can be reduced to 52 million tonnes, which would mean limiting the annual increase in total CO2 emissions to 2.1 per cent.
  • It is highly recommended that rail development be prioritized from 2020 onwards to support increase in freight travel demand resulting from a growing manufacturing industry, the report states. It is very important for Vietnam to start monitoring its carbon emissions as it lacks tools to do so as of now.

Report: A study of long-term transport action plan for ASEAN

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