The only thing worse than taking 5 hours to drive 106 km along winding and often damaged mountainous roads, is the realization that having reached your destination you have to turn around and repeat the trip to get home. That was in the forefront of my mind as I sat in the very quiet town of Ainaro, south of the capital in Dili.
A few years ago I proudly put a sticker on my bicycle that claimed one should ‘bike local’ in order to ‘think global.’ These days, it seems that the car is unavoidable in the majority of growing cities and that instead of biking local one should avoid commuting at all.
I have recently returned from CarbonExpo in Cologne, along with most of the unprecedented 70-person Bank delegation we sent this year. For the uninitiated, CarbonExpo is an annual, oh, call it a high-energy trade fair, where carbon finance project developers, financial institutions, auditors, policy makers, and international organizations meet to strike deals and innovate ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
Vehicle scrapping and recycling programs are not new. In fact, last year, The Economist put together a neat comparison of subsidies provided for vehicle scrapping programs across the world.
What is new, is how the Egyptians have organized their own national scheme. Rather than place the onus mostly or entirely on a government agency to provide incentives for participation, the Egyptian scheme is – I dare say – a model of public-private partnership innovation.In the fall of 2008, Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif charged the Ministry of Finance with organizing vehicle scrapping scheme, initially targeted at taxis and other mass transport vehicles.
The Egyptian mass transport fleet is aging – the average age of a taxi in Egypt is 32 years old, more than 64,000 microbuses are greater than 20 years old, and nearly 70% of all registered vehicles in the country are greater than 15 years old. The aging fleet is prone to frequent break-downs and, because older vehicles are typically unequipped with modern catalytic converters, low quality emissions.
The transport sector, particularly in developing countries, plays a critical role in global energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions reduction strategies – not only because transport sector emissions comprise nearly a quarter of global emissions today, but also because without pre-emptive action in developing countries, transport sector emissions may increase particularly rapidly, and the costs of future retroactive mitigation activities may be prohibitive.