Future of Transport: Solar Roads and Solar Vehicles

Photo: World Bank / Curt Carnemark
Photo: World Bank / Curt Carnemark

Efforts to revolutionize transport around the world are gaining momentum with more governments and businesses exploring possibilities for electric vehicles and low-carbon emissions transport systems.

It was stated by transport experts attending the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Marrakech (COP 22).

“The transport sector is very uniquely positioned to deliver both on decarbonisation as well as on human well-being. Countries are stepping out to it,” said Paula Caballero, global director, Climate Program of the World Resources Institute, at a press conference on Saturday.

She said that the New Urban Agenda adopted at Habitat III, the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, in Quito, in October 2016, “very clearly encapsulates that.”

Transport counts for 24 percent of energy related greenhouse gas emissions. Without disruptive action, transport emissions can be expected to grow from 7.7 gigatonnes to around 15 gigatonnes by 2050. For 45 percent of countries, transport is the largest source of energy related emissions.

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At Marrakech Climate Conference, transport experts and leaders took stock of progress made on transport initiatives since the previous UN Climate Conference in Paris (COP 21) last year.

Over the last 12 months, the MobiliseYourCity initiative secured 35 million euros in funding and announced the start of developing Sustainable Urban Mobility plans in Morocco and Cameroon.

The Global Fuel Economy Initiative (GFEI) is supporting an additional 40 countries to realize the financial, and CO2 benefits of improved vehicle fuel economy. And Airport Carbon Accreditation Scheme now has 173 certified airports worldwide, including 26 carbon neutral airports.

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The Partnership for Sustainable, Low Carbon Transport (SLoCaT) launched a global roadmap for decarbonisation of the transport sector at COP 22. SLoCaT is a partnership between international organizations, business sector and NGOs, seeking to promote sustainable transport and focusing on land transport in developing countries.

The Morrocan Minister in charge of Environment and ‘Climate Champion’, Hakima El Haité, expressed her optimism for the future. “Transport can be revolutionary tomorrow. We will have solar roads and maybe we will have solar vehicles,” she said at the press conference.

“The transport initiatives, by creating a new reality on the ground, increase popular understanding and support for climate action which, in turn, drives up governments’ ambition to tackle climate change,” she added.

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Rakesh Raman