Infrastructural facilities like roads, railway lines, airports and ports are being built in India at a very significant rate. An increasing population requires more and more of these facilities to handle passenger movement. As we speak, cities like New Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai and even Jaipur are undergoing development of their public transport system, adding Metro, Skyrails and European emission-certified busses to their networks.
As mentioned by Ms. Marianne de Nazareth in her article on Sustainable Low Carbon Transport in India, the transport sector was responsible for 14 percent of the country’s energy-related CO2 emissions in 2010. According to the article "increased vehicle use has led to an augmentation in congestion, accidents, and local air pollution. There is increasing recognition among policymakers in India that transport infrastructure could become a serious bottleneck for future economic growth. This is particularly the case for freight transport, as high growth in freight traffic is expected to continue in the medium and long-term. The capacity of the existing rail network for freight transport is saturated on most of the trunk routes and the road network is also highly congested. It is apparent that economic growth at the current pace cannot be sustained without substantial addition to transport and logistics infrastructure."
OilPrice.com, in its article on a similar subject, stated what we usually read about every da:; India has the most polluted cities in the world. The increased use of vehicles in recent years has turned the transport sector into the second largest contributor of CO2 emissions.
It further described an initiative of the Ministry of Environment & Forests and the Ministry of Urban Development, the recently launched project called ‘Promoting Low Carbon Transport in India’. It is the first ever transportation project to be financed by the United Nations Environment Project (UNEP), and under this project, UNEP will work together with various institutions to help reduce carbon emissions in India’s cities. The three-year, 2.49 million Euro project is funded under the International Climate Initiative of the German Government and will address areas such as transportation growth, development agenda and climate change issues in an integrated manner by catalysing the development of a Transport Action Plan at the national level and low carbon mobility plans at a city level.
According to Ms de Nazareth's article "India’s National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) outlines a combination of measures that can reduce transport CO2 emissions, including increased public transport, more biofuel use, enhanced vehicle energy efficiency, making old vehicles redundant, among other initiatives."
Under the plan to reduce the carbon footprint of the transport sector, India also started work on dedicated freight corridors (DFC) along the “golden quadrilateral” that connects India’s four largest cities, and their diagonals as rail transport projects have huge potential to reduce CO2 emissions from the transport sector in India. India’s main rationale is that the DFCs would enable the Indian Railways to meet the growing demand for freight transport and induce modal shift of freight traffic from road to rail. The most important benefit of the DFC for the Indian Railways would be the higher operational efficiency in both freight and passenger services since the congestion on existing rail network would reduce significantly.
The Energy and Resources Institute has been tasked with weighing up measures India could undertake to reduce carbon emissions within the transport sector. The outcome showed that a low carbon future involves three stages-- improvement, shifting, and avoidance. It also includes shifts towards using more efficient fuels and vehicles; a move away from road towards railways for freight and long distance passenger travel. The National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) outlines a roadmap for low carbon growth including policies for the transport sector. These outlines need to be taken into account considerably while framing policies.
This article has been compiled using Ms. Marianne de Nazareth' article on Sustainable Low Carbon Transport in India as a reference.
Author: Ajay Pal Singh Chabba/ RESET editorial
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