Renewable energy

Targeting sustainable mobility

UNEnvironment

Providing solutions for sustainable mobility is essential to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). responsAbility’s climate finance specialists have teamed up with the UN’s Global Fuel Economy Initiative (GFEI) to establish country baselines for transportation. This allows us to obtain first-hand information on the development of sustainable energy policies in our markets and contributes to UNEP’s effort to expand data collection in order to advise emerging countries on fuel economy regulations for lower carbon mobility.

Mobility is a key feature of modern society, and advancements in transportation technology have been an important driver for social and economic development, since the first steam locomotives started transporting people and goods in the late eighteenth century.

“Land-based passenger travel accounts for approximately 12.5% of the global CO2 emissions from fuel combustion and is the main reason for poor air quality in cities.”

Nowadays, there are more than 1 billion cars on the roads. Land-based passenger travel accounts for approximately 12.5% of the global CO2 emissions from fuel combustion and is the main reason for poor air quality in cities. Even with the increase in use of shared mobility solutions, private car ownership is expected to increase – current trends show the number of cars on the roads doubling by 20401 – driven by fast-growing markets in India, China and South East Asia. 

To mitigate the impacts of climate change, emissions from the transport sector should be drastically reduced in the coming years. Sustainable mobility solutions are starting to rapidly spread including hybrid and electric vehicles for both private and public transportation. Alternative fuels such as hydrogen, natural gas and liquified petroleum gas (LPG) have also increased their shares in the market and fuel efficiencies in internal combustion engines are challenging the technology limits. However, this increase in fuel efficiency is more visible in OECD countries, while in the rest of the world, vehicle fuel economy has stagnated over the last ten years2

To boost the deployment of these more efficient vehicles in developing economies, collective efforts are needed from all parties. Governments and market players need to work together in establishing an adequate regulatory framework, raising awareness on the impacts of fuel economy programs and providing financial solutions to people to access new and more efficient means of transportation.  

“Governments and market players need to work together in establishing an adequate regulatory framework, raising awareness on the impacts of fuel economy programs and providing financial solutions to people to access new and more efficient means of transportation.”

The responsAbility-managed climate fund, a public-private partnership fund, has taken up the mission of combatting climate change by financing energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in developing countries, mainly in cooperation with local financial institutions. The fund targets all investments that reduce projected greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 20%. 

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To safeguard accurate recording of carbon emissions associated with investments in line with international recognized carbon accounting standards, investment specific energy consumption data needs to be compared to a realistic baseline scenario. Therefore, developing representative technology and country baselines to calculate the emissions reduction of energy efficiency projects is key to scaling up investments in this sector and to properly assess low carbon transportation solutions.

To address that challenge, the climate fund, through its Technical Assistance Facility, entered into a collaboration with UN Environment (UNEP) in 2017 to work together to establish country baselines for transportation. This strategic partnership allows responsAbility to obtain first-hand information on the development of sustainable energy policies in the markets it operates. It also contributes to UNEP’s effort to expand data collection in order to advise emerging countries on fuel economy regulations that promote lower carbon mobility. 

For the specific case of transportation, the climate fund has used data collected by the Global Fuel Economy Initiative (GFEI) to set baselines for energy-efficient vehicles in Georgia and Costa Rica. GCPF will continue to use GFEI baseline information to further support their local partners, and verify vehicle fuel economy fleet improvement, like in Sri Lanka and Mongolia. 

“In Cambodia, responsAbility’s partner banks are targeting the financing of 3-wheelers or ‘tuk-tuks’, aiming to replace the less efficient petrol 2-wheelers.”

In Cambodia, responsAbility’s partner financial institutions are targeting the financing of OEM LPG 3-wheelers or ‘tuk-tuks’, aiming to replace the less efficient petrol 2-wheelers, while increasing safety and comfort in this widely used means of transport in Cambodian cities (there are more than 6000 tuk-tuk drivers in Phnom Penh3 alone). In the last few months, the climate fund contributed to financing more than 2645 new LPG tuk-tuks that will reduce more than 1600 tons of CO2 per year.

Current projects include supporting transportation baselines for Vietnam. GFEI will develop a baseline for light duty vehicles in the country, including motorcycles, which account for the biggest part of the fleet, with more than 45 million registered motorcycles4. In both countries, local governments have shown strong interest to GFEI to implement fuel economy initiatives.

“The climate fund has financed to date more than 3,000 efficient cars and buses that will prevent the emission of more than 85,000 tonnes of CO2.”

The climate fund has been active in the transportation space since inception and has financed to date more than 3,000 efficient cars and buses that will prevent the emission of more than 85,000 tonnes of CO2. Countries which have received funds for financing sustainable transportation include Armenia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mongolia, Nicaragua and Sri Lanka.

Providing solutions for sustainable mobility is essential to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Through this collaboration, both GFEI and responsAbility are contributing to several SDGs, including SDG3 by improving air quality, SDG11 by providing access to sustainable transport systems and especially SDG13 by mobilising funds to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The partners

Global Fuel Economy Initiative (GFEI) is a partnership of the International Energy Agency (IEA), United Nations Environment (UN Environment), International Transport Forum of the OECD (ITF), International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), Institute for Transportation Studies at UC Davis, and the FIA Foundation, which works to secure real improvements in fuel economy, and the maximum deployment of existing fuel economy technologies in vehicles across the world. The Initiative promotes these objectives through shared analysis, advocacy, and through in-country policy support. UN Environment is responsible within GFEI for fuel efficiency market analysis in developing countries and liaison with local governments.

The responsAbility-managed climate fund: Established in 2009 by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) and KfW Entwicklungsbank, the fund is a public-private partnership who aims to provide financing to low-carbon projects in developing economies. The fund focuses on financing energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, primarily in cooperation with local financial institutions but also directly.