Press Release 13 November 2007
THE FUTURE OF TRANSPORT IN THE ERA
OF CO2 REDUCTION
Rome, 13 November 2007 - During a roundtable at the 20th World Energy Congress, industry leaders and experts discussed ways to improve transportation while lowering carbon emissions. The panel members spanned four continents and represented countries that were in various phases of industrialization.
"One of the most important pillars for the reduction of CO2 is connected to transportation," said Umberto Quadrino, the chief executive of Italian energy company Edison.
While the panel members spoke of the specific situation in their countries and continents, there was a consensus for the need to use more biofuels, fuels made from organic matter such as corn or sugar cane, and to find ways to make transportation more efficient.
"Half of the world's oil goes to transportation and a quarter of CO2 emissions come from transport, so it is vital that we improve the efficiencies of automobiles," said Masatami Takimoto, an executive vice president of Toyota Motor Corp. "We need to reduce the average size of cars."
There will have to be an increased reliance on electricity and hydrogen for transportation in the future - in addition to oil and biofuels - but having fuel efficient cars and those that use different fuels is not enough, Takimoto said. Road infrastructure must also be improved and other steps must be taken to improve the flow of traffic.
If congestion was defeated in Germany, CO2 emissions would fall by 30 million tons a year, according to Gunter Zimmermeyer, a senior vice president with Robert Bosch, the German maker of car parts. If the percentage of diesel cars in Germany rose by one percentage point, two million tons of CO2 emissions could be eliminated every year, he said, adding that 200,000 tons a year could be saved if the average age of Germany's cars fell to seven years from eight.
"Europe and the developed world are very concentrated on having cleaner vehicles while in Africa the question is accessibility and affordability," said Mary Kimotho M'Mukindia, the vice chair of WEC Kenya. "Lowering the average age of cars in Europe just moves the problem to Africa, where the average age is as high as 18 years, because the older cars end up there. The real question for us is how to make diesel cleaner."
Another challenge or the developing world, she said is to move industry to the outside of urban areas so that fewer people move to the cities where they put stress on transportation systems and other types of urban infrastructure. She cited Tunisia as a good example of how industry can be delocalized from urban areas.
José Sergio Gabrielli de Azevedo, the president of Brazilian oil company Petrobras, spoke of Brazil's successful experience using ethanol as a fuel. In Brazil 40 percent of the country's transport needs are met using ethanol and the rest with gasoline. In Sao Paolo, the most populous Brazilian state, already more than half of fuel used for transportation is ethanol and in Brazil cars are not permitted to run on pure gasoline. He said using sugar cane is the best way to make ethanol, which produces five times less CO2 emissions than gasoline.
"We are where we are with ethanol based on decisions taken in the 1970s," he said. "We think we can spread this to other countries because if you use a mix of gasoline with up to five percent ethanol there is no need to make changes to a vehicle's motor. For a mix of up to 15 percent ethanol only minor changes are needed."
Several panelists spoke of the prospect for an increased use of electric cars, but it was noted that emissions will depend on how the electricity used is produced. In France, for example, where 80 percent of electricity is produced with nuclear power, electric cars will produce much less CO2 than in countries where there is a heavy reliance on oil or carbon for electricity production.
The World Energy Council in partnership with Oliver Wyman (global consulting firm) has over the past year worked on its third Assessment of country energy and climate policy aiming to identify key areas for policy improvements and to understand how successful policies can be transferred from one country to another. more >