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Transport a big driver of global warming

 Transport accounts for 37 per cent of CO2 emissions from enduse sectors. [iStockphoto]

Transportation- driving in the city and its suburbs- is one of the largest sources of global warming in Kisumu County.

A recently released Baseline Emission Inventory Report shows stationary energy comes second and constitutes manufacturing industries, commercial and institutional and residential buildings.

Wastes and agriculture take third and fourth positions.

The survey was done to help county and local authorities on which priority measures of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Kisumu Governor Prof Anyang' Nyong'o was praised during the Africities conference fom his efforts to embrace a non-motorist city after identifying transport as one source of greenhouse gases.

The county is also moving toward electric motorbikes and vehicles considering that the report shows that tracks are leading causes of emission at 20.1 percent followed by matatus at 19.5 percent and saloon cars at 14.5 percent.

Currently, fisher folk are being trained on replacing diesel and petrol powered boats with electric ones which cost effective besides being more environmentally friendly, according to Joseph Oganga, Kisumu County Chief Officer, Energy and Industrialization.

"Reducing emissions from driving is a big challenge," said Prof Raphael Kapiyo, an environmental scientist at Maseno University, who led the project of mapping out carbon dioxide point sources in Kisumu.

"Driving and commuting on motorbikes, has been a major contributor to the expanding carbon footprint of urban areas, Kapiyo said adding that the Covid-19 pandemic saw a dip in green house gas emissions due to lockdowns and curfews.

Transport has the highest reliance on fossil fuels of any sector and accounts for 37 percent of CO2 emissions from enduse sectors.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) research suggests the world needs to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by 45 percent by 2030, and a net-zero emissions by 2050 to avert the worst impacts of climate change.

But transport sector has posed challenges despite the vital role it plays in mobility, global trade and development.

The IPCC report notes that the pandemic-induced shutdowns led to rapid declines in transportation emissions, as people stopped commuting and travel and many businesses were forced to close.

In areas with tight lockdowns, road transport saw declines as high as 50 percent to 75 percent.

Kisumu County Director of Climate Change, Evans Gichana, said the region is bearing the brunt of climate change contributed by the low forest cover and which includes rising temperatures, shifting rainfall patterns and extreme climate events - like heavy rainstorms and record high temperatures.

"With all this in mind, we need to minimise the gases that are being emitted in the county as an urgent matter," and that the baseline survey will lay down the roadmap that guides how to minimize carbon footprint in the county.

World Bank reports that from 2015-2018, 11 million used vehicles were exported to developing countries from high-income countries, and only 28 developing countries regulate the emissions or safety standards of these dilapidated cars.

The reports indicate most used vehicles exported to African countries are between 16 to 20 years old and have more than 125,000 miles on the odometer. This has risky implications for road safety and pollution.

The World Bank notes that the problem is likely to worsen "as low- and middle-income countries double their vehicle fleets - mostly comprised of used, gas-powered cars - in the next 15-20 years."

The World Bank, the largest provider of development financing for transport globally, recommends climate-smart modes of transport like biking and walking to improve connectivity, reduce commute times, and enable more people to access jobs and critical services - like schools and hospitals.

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