Photo by Khawla Alazabi, UNFCCC

Sharing the roads

Look at any highway in just about any city during rush hours — bumper-to-bumper traffic everywhere. But on closer inspection, many cars have only one occupant. But what if there were better forms of sharing and carpooling. According to experts, shared mobility in cities can provide all car trips with only two per cent of existing vehicles.

At an event that was part of “Transport Day” at COP24, Jari Kauppila, of the International Transport Forum, said shared mobility services could change urban mobility patterns in cities and ultimately decrease traffic congestion. And the best part is that this sharing could also lower CO2 emissions and eliminate all on-street parking.

Looking at real user data from various cities, including Lisbon, Helsinki, Auckland and Dublin, Jari said a full replacement of cars with shared taxis or taxi-buses would reduce CO2 emissions by 31 per cent in Dublin, 54 per cent in Auckland, 62 per cent in Lisbon, and 34 per cent in Helsinki.  But realistically, a 20 per cent of replacement of motorized trips would be enough to reduce CO2 emissions would get the ball rolling on emissions.

Countries laying low? 

The negotiations are going on in meeting rooms both massive and small, yet very little information has emerged from the parties for public consumption. In fact, countries have held very few press conferences. The European Union held one at the beginning of the Conference to lay out their goals, and another to discuss the issue of transport. China held a press conference to announce a climate change film festival. NGO press conferences, on the other hand, are back to back. But with the first week of negotiations winding down, a session on Saturday night is expected to present a clearer idea of where the negotiations stand, before ministers arrive and take over the talks.

Adapting to climate change

With a slew of reports showing the impending dangers from rising concentrations of greenhouse gases, a major focus has been on reducing emissions.  But for many countries, such as from Africa, the issue is dealing with the impacts. Event after event at COP24 are addressing a range of adaptation issues, including providing clean water, soil preservation, reforestation and planting new forests and food security. The African Development Bank reported that there was, however, enormous opportunity for further investments on this front. It was not looking to support “agropreneurs,” a new class of people who don’t see themselves as farmers but were looking to build businesses around agricultural production.