Government think-tank NITI Aayog and the International Transport Forum (ITF) of the Organisation for Economic Development and Cooperation (OECD) jointly launched the Decarbonising Transport in Emerging Economies (DTEE) project in India on Wednesday.
The launch was held via a webinar and was inaugurated by ITF Secretary General Young Tae Kim and NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant in the presence of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) Secretary, DS Mishra as well as Ministry of Road Transport and Highways Joint Secretary, Priyank Bharti.
The ambitious five-year project will help India develop a pathway towards a low-carbon transport system through the development of modelling tools and policy scenarios.
During his opening address, Kim thanked NITI Aayog and its CEO, Amitabh Kant, for their support of the project. “This is a very important and promising undertaking that will provide practical support for the Indian government for making the right choices on the way to a low-CO2 transport system. Our collaboration on the ‘Decarbonising Transport in India’ project is also an opportunity to further strengthen the relationship between India and the ITF,” he said.
In his keynote address, Kant said, ‘The DTEE project would help India translate its climate ambitions into actions. The modelling tool and assessment framework would provide targeted analytical assistance to identify these climate actions and help us draw policies rooted in data analysis and advanced modelling. Given our diverse demographics across socio-economic factors such as population, age, income, etc., it would be important to first estimate the demand for transportation in India and then do detailed modelling to compute the CO2 emissions.
‘Building on this evidence-based assessment of mitigation impacts, bringing DTEE and National Development Council (NDC)-Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) together under this collaboration would support our policymaking by identifying various scenarios to achieve Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) targets submitted by India under the Paris Agreement. This project could very well define our future urban policies and could help us in designing policies, which are firmly grounded in data and are likely to be highly efficient and impactful across the entire transport ecosystem in India,’ he added.
Also speaking at the launch Mishra opined, “Our country is urbanising very fast, which will throw up huge challenges in terms of provision of various kinds of infrastructure, especially mobility. Our strategies need to be in tune with our requirements when our population doubles.’
India’s Transport Sector Challenges
The transport sector of India is the third most greenhouse gas (GHG) emitting sector, where the major contribution comes from the road transport sector. Out of the total carbon dioxide emissions in India, 13 per cent come from the transport sector. These emissions have more than tripled since 1990. The increasing motorisation and demand for mobility in India have contributed to air pollution, congestion, as well as the increase of greenhouse gas emissions, in the urban area.
In India, CO2 emitted per inhabitant was just about a twentieth of that of an average OECD country, yet, India’s transport CO2 emissions are likely to increase by almost 6 per cent annually to 2030. India is actively taking a number of measures to tackle its emissions, including newer fuel emission norms as well as the promotion of electric vehicles in the country. NITI Aayog has been at the helm for the promotion of electric vehicles and sustainable mobility through its National Mission on Transformative Mobility and Battery Storage.
However, given the vast size of India as well as the enormous and diverse transport sector within the country, strategic policy decisions will have to be driven predominantly by data. The Decarbonising Transport in India project will design a tailor-made transport emissions assessment framework for India. It will provide the government with a detailed understanding of current and future transport activity and the related CO2 emissions as a basis for their decision-making.
The ITF project team will work in close cooperation and coordination with India’s government agencies, local decision-makers, researchers, experts, and civil society organisations. Stakeholder workshops, training sessions, briefings for policymakers and mitigation action plans will support the development of policies beyond the duration of the project.
The India project is carried out in the wider context of the International Transport Forum’s Decarbonising Transport initiative. It is part of the Decarbonising Transport in Emerging Economies family of projects, which supports transport decarbonisation across different world regions. India, Argentina, Azerbaijan and Morocco are current participants. DTEE is a collaboration between the ITF and the Wuppertal Institute, supported by the International Climate Initiative of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety.