Carbon Neutrality in Mobility: Is it possible?

India is the third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the world after China and the US. To move towards carbon neutrality, being energy efficient is crucial.

mohandas mekanapurath

Mohandas Mekanapurath, Business Head, Bosch Energy and Building Solutions India

Economic growth is propelled by rapid urbanization and industrialization and manufacturing accounts for around onethird of global carbon dioxide emissions. Carbon emissions have increased threefold since the ‘70s. On a per-capita basis, India is one of the lowest emitters of greenhouse gases in the world, and yet it is threatened by the impact of global warming and climate change. The European continent intends to become carbon neutral by 2050 and India aims to achieve the same goal.

The mobility industry is responsible for more than half of India’s petroleum consumption and a quarter of the overall energy needs. As more people move to cities, public transit has become critical in regulating low carbon mobility systems to curb air pollution road traffic congestion.

The Indian Journey

India has started its journey to reduce carbon footprint by shifting to cleaner fuels. Implementation of BSVI norms in from April 2020 and increased adoption of electric vehicles will help us fast track carbon neutrality.

The BSVI norms will reduce the NOx emissions by approximately 25 percent and 68 percent for petrol and diesel engines. The PM emissions for diesel engines are expected to go down by 80 percent. India has pledged to reduce its GHG emissions intensity by 33-35 percent by 2030 under the Paris Agreement. By using electric vehicles, we can effectively reduce urban air pollution, improve air quality, and achieve 100 percent carbon neutrality.

India is currently ranked fifth among the largest automobile markets in the world, even overtaking Germany.

The Indian government has undertaken numerous initiatives to promote the uptake of electric vehicles which includes the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan 2020 (NEMMP), Scheme for Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles in India (FAME), National Mission on Transformative Mobility and Battery Storage, income-tax deduction on the interest paid on loans taken for the purchase of EVs, etc.

Under the FAME II scheme, the government has allocated an outlay of ₹10,000 crores for three years, till 2022. EV manufacturers are incentivized to make electric vehicles and their components more affordable. Electric vehicles accounted for nearly 2.9 percent of all automobile sales for FY19 in India.

Over the last six years, around eight thousand EVs have been locally sold in India. It also has about 1.5m electric rickshaws, although these are typically used only for short journeys. With half of India’s conventional rail tracks being electrified, it is safe to say that the Indian surface transport is nearly carbon neutral.

Global context

Countries across the world have displayed strong leadership in the growing worldwide environmental movement. The German government has promoted electric cars by boosting the number of public charging stations across the country to 50,000 within two years. Automakers are expected to help fund 15,000 of these charging stations by 2022. Germany has also done a pilot project with overhead electric cables that help hybrid trucks run on electricity on highways. According to the University of Duisburg-Essen’s Center for Automotive Research, out of 47 million vehicles surveyed, there were about 420,000 electric and hybrid-electric vehicles at the beginning of the year.

Tiny Bhutan has become the world’s first country to become carbon negative. Measures undertaken by the Bhutan government include placing a ban on water logging, making constitutional changes to preserve forest cover, going paperless, and shifting to renewable sources of power such as hydro energy instead of using fossil fuels. The government also supplies free electricity to rural farmers to reduce their reliance on wood stoves. On mobility, the Bhutan has partnered with Nissan to shift to EV’s and eventually aims to convert all vehicles to electric with lowered purchase costs.

French tyre maker Michelin has recently announced its plans to achieve carbon neutrality across all its plants worldwide by 2050. Michelin has successfully reduced carbon emissions by 22 percent over the last eight years while tapping into renewable sources of energy to eliminate the usage of coal fired energy.

A sustainable energy transition is paramount for every industry to protect resources, control emissions, and reduce expenses. Renewable sources of energy can help manufacturing facilities function independently without a central power supply and generate carbon-neutral power. This helps production facilities, R&D centers, and executive facilities become carbon neutral. It covers the entirety of carbon emissions generated by the combustion of industrial gases, gasoline, diesel, heating oil, natural gas, and coal.

Conclusion

Swift action implementing deep cuts in our emissions is a smart choice for India. By transitioning towards a clean energy economy, we can address global warming concerns effectively and thus maintain ecological balance. A competitive clean energy economy can increase the savings of consumers and businesses, stimulate job creation and innovation, and give future generations a secure and healthier future. By implementing constitutional changes, using innovative and connected technology in all types of public and private transport, from rail to road (metro, train, tramway, suburban, bus, HCV, LCV, CV, two-wheelers), increasing forest cover and adopting clean and sustainable mobility we can achieve carbon neutrality.

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