From: Paul Schaefer, ENN
Published December 16, 2007 01:23 PM

Why Biofuels When Cheaper Measures are Available for Climate Protection?

PARIS - "We need to concentrate on the most cost-effective measures to reduce CO2 emissions in transport", stressed Jack Short, Secretary General of the International Transport Forum, at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bali on Thursday. Too often high cost and low impact measures are being chosen, he criticised. Because the challenge for the sector to reduce its CO2 emissions is immense, neither industrial nor developing countries can afford to get priorities wrong. "By achieving the required emission reductions at the lowest overall cost, it is possible to protect the climate with minimal damage to welfare and economic growth."

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Short's alarming perspective is that the substantial growth in traffic anticipated over the next decades in all modes of transport under a business as usual scenario will likely double world transport emissions by 2030. Therefore "wide ranging and integrated policy packages are needed" to reduce transport emissions. According to Short these include significant advances in vehicle and vehicle component technology supported by a range of policy measures aimed at increasing fuel efficiency. It is also necessary to act on the demand side, "not to restrict mobility, but to manage it."

According to the International Transport Forum "effective and affordable" actions include tax and regulatory incentives for improved vehicle components including tyres, lubricants, air conditioners and lights not covered by the standard tests that award fuel efficiency ratings to cars. Training, information and support for "ecodriving" is also highly cost effective with an immediate pay-off in reduced emissions. These are "the most cost-effective" practices, Short stressed, "but at present we are not taking advantage of them. We are putting too much hope in expensive options like biofuels that are neither cost effective nor necessarily good environmentally".

The International Transport Forum, part of the OECD family, is a global platform and meeting place at the highest level for transport, logistics and mobility. Key figures from government and politics, business and industry, research and civil society will meet at the annual conference in Leipzig, which has the ambition to become the "Transport Summit of the Year". The first Forum will take place in May 2008 on the theme "Transport and Energy: The Challenge of Climate Change". The involvement of more than 50 Ministers of Transport ensures direct links and strong relevance to policy making at both national and international levels.

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