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World automobile firms support UN Nairobi agency 'green' drive | Coastweek

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Gerald Banaga-Baingi (L), Technical Advisor, Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, Uganda and Erik Solheim (r), executive director of UN Environment (UNEP)address journalists on the sidelines of Africa Clean Mobility Week Conference in Nairobi, capital of Kenya, March 14, 2018. The week-long conference seeks to improve energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles in Africa by leveraging on technological advancements driving low-carbon mobility within and outside the region. XINHUA/CHARLES ONYANGO

World automobile firms support UN Nairobi agency 'green' drive

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- The UN Environmental has received overwhelming support for its drive to ensure that urban transport systems become more technologically efficient and lead to low emission of carbon dioxide.

Representatives from vehicle manufacturing firms attending the Africa Clean Mobility Conference in Nairobi, said that although extra resources were required to produce low carbon emitting vehicles, the initiative was worthwhile for the sake of humankind.

During the conference, delegates from African countries, representatives of car manufacturing companies and energy sector regulators, came together to discuss the steps to improve fuel economy of cars and heavy transport vehicles, fuel quality and vehicle emission standards.

According to the UN Environment, there are opportunities for the African region to move directly from low-to-zero emission of carbons within a short time.

“The zero emission cars are already available in the developed countries,” said Jim Dando, Sales and Operations Director at Nissan Group of Africa.

Dando said the importation of the used vehicles needed a re-think if the African region was to achieve the low carbon emission and to transition to zero carbon emission in the future.

He said the infrastructure in Africa does not provide the support for the zero transmission vehicles in Africa, especially given that most countries have not developed the required centers for charging the batteries of the electric vehicles, which have the low carbon emission.

“It would be difficult to meet the zero transmission in Africa,” Dando said.

In Kenya, Isuzu East Africa representative Zacharia Mungai, said the country recorded sales of 890 new vehicles in 2017, with 400 of them assembled in the country compared to 6,576 used vehicles imported every month.

Mungai said Kenya has developed policies and standards for ensuring the low carbon emissions from cars.



UN blames used vehicles for increase of greenhouse gases in Africa

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- A UN official on Thursday attributed the increase in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Africa to unregulated importation of used vehicles.

Rob de Jong, head of Air Quality and Mobility Unit at the UN Environment, said the majority of diesel engine vehicles sold to the continent produce adverse emissions that require regulation.

“You need to develop a harmonized policy to help regulate the importation of the vehicles to avoid being duped by importers,” he said at the ongoing Africa Clean Mobility Conference in Nairobi.

De Jong noted that the majority of countries do not have policies to regulate the importation of the vehicles and that the existing policies are not uniform.

He said given that the countries have porous borders, it is important that a harmonized policy is developed as opposed to every country developing their own.

“You need to copy the European Union that has a single policy that guides the importation of used cars,” he added.

Used vehicles are popular in most African countries, yet their rate of pollution is higher compared to new vehicles.

In East Africa alone, 70 percent of GHG emissions recorded comes from the transport sector that is dominated by the used vehicles.

De Jong said more than 42 million used cars were imported in the continent mainly by Benin, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, Guinea, Cameroon, Togo and Uganda in 2014 alone.

He said even as the vehicles provide opportunities, they too provide challenges in regard to their condition and fuel issues.

De Jong urged African governments to acquire affordable technology to help acquire quality used vehicles, fit for the operating environment and do not have adverse financial, environmental and health impacts.

“The vehicles should be between three to five years old, proven to work well and clean for usage,” he added.

De Jong commended Mauritius which imported four hybrid electric vehicles in 2016 and has increased the number to 4,000.

He said the UN Environment is ready to help the countries develop harmonized policies to avoid having several different policies.

“Vehicle exporting countries must also stop dumping unsafe and dirty vehicles and start helping African countries leapfrog to clean and safe technology,” he noted.

He recommended that exporters contribute one U.S. dollars per every exported car to help fix their environmental damage.

According to the UNEP, used cars in the continent are mainly imported from Japan, Europe and the United States. Kenya imports 96 percent of used cars years while Nigeria imports 99 mainly through internet-based sales. Liberia imports 90 percent while in Uganda the numbers of used cars are higher than new cars.


Lithium battery-powered electric bicycle showcased at UN meeting

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- A lithium battery-powered bicycle, which is portable and designed for motorists in congested urban cities, has been showcased at the Africa Clean Mobility Week Conference being held in Nairobi to seek solutions for sustainable urban transport methods.

The electric bicycle, currently retailing at 500 U.S. dollars, is part of a new range of environmentally-friendly urban transport tools showcased at the UN Environment-organized meeting, which ends on Friday to help step up the fight against climate change.

“Our products have gained market acceptance,” said Lod Huang, the general manager of the TAILG, a Chinese electric motor vehicles and bikes manufacturer, which showcased its array of urban transport tools in Nairobi.

“We want to make sure the air is clean for everyone. This is why we intend to come to Africa with these products,” Lod said, also emphasizing the health benefits of cycling.

Lod said the UN initiative to promote environmentally sustainable transport would also accelerate uptake of its e-bicycles and electric vehicles.

The Clean Mobility Week, dedicated to the search for new measures to limit the emission of gases that cause climate change, attracted delegates from 42 countries.

“The impact of climate change affects everyone, not just people in a particular sector,” said Wanjiku Manyara, General Manager at the Petroleum Institute of East Africa.

“The issues of a healthier environment are bigger than anyone regardless of the profit motives of private companies,” said Manyar.

UN Environment Executive Director Erik Solheim said the organization stands ready to provide a platform for companies with the right products with the potential to change lifestyles.

According to the UN Environment, its intervention to combat the use of leaded petrol is estimated to have saved 2.45 trillion dollars worldwide, including preventing 1.2 million deaths from heart diseases.


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