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Virtual parliamentary roundtable on decarbonisation of transport

The Climate Parliament and UNIDO co-organised the event on the 9th July in collaboration with the Pan-African Parliament and with support from the European Commission's Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development (DGDEVCO). Mr Lewis Fulton - Director of the Sustainable Transportation Energy PathwaysProgram (STEPS+) at the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California,Davi - and Parliamentarians from the Gambia, Nigeria, South Africa and Zambia discussed pathways to deep decarbonisation of transport.

The latest trends show that the stock of fuel vehicles is growing in developed countries.Mr Fulton highlighted the urgent need to change that curve. Measures such as improvement of vehicle efficiency, encouragement to travel less and a shift to a cleaner way to travel (e.g. cycling) need to be implemented. Mr Fulton also emphasised the importance of electrification of vehicles as a way forward to decarbonise transport.Electric vehicles represent only 1% of the global stock. Mr Fulton outlined that stimulus packages must be adopted by governments to encourage people to buy clean cars. Policies such as taxes on high-consumption vehicles, import restriction and incentives to allow companies to move toward large scale production of electric vehicles will allow electric vehicles to become a cost-effective choice for consumers.

The situation in developing countries was then discussed. Parliamentarians agreed that there is a need for economic incentives. The electrification of transport can be a challenge in regions such as Africa as infrastructure is not yet in place. Some rural areas still do not have access to electricity. Moreover, the cost of electric vehicles remains too high and a significant number of jobs rely on fuel vehicles. The issue of introducing a new technology was also discussed. It was agreed that it is important to create awareness about this new technology in order to convince the population and the authorities of the environmental and economic benefits it will bring to society: electric vehicles will be more reliable, maintenance will be much lower and the job losses can be reverted by new employment opportunities related to this technology.

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