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UNEP implements low emissions mobility scheme in Lagos

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is implementing a No and Low Emission Transport project, which aims to promote a global transition to no- and low-emissions mobility for improved air quality and climate change mitigation.

Clean electric bus project
Some of the participants at the virtual workshop

To realise the overarching goal of this project, countries and cities will be supported to develop and implement no and low emissions transport policies and strategies with the following three outcomes envisaged:

  • countries/cities shift to more efficient vehicles including electric mobility
  • countries/cities switch to cleaner fuels – low Sulphur fuels – and vehicle emission standards
  • countries/cities develop and implement policies that prioritize walking and cycling infrastructure.

In order to contribute to achieving the objectives of addressing soot-free public transportation for the West African sub region, specifically focusing on countries/cities shift to more efficient vehicles including electric mobility and switch to cleaner fuels – low Sulphur fuels – and vehicle emission, a project, tagged “Cost-Benefit Assessment of Soot Free Buses in Lagos”, is being designed under the Small-Scale Funding Agreement (SSFA).

Overall, this contributes to UNEP’s Chemicals and Waste Sub-programme 2020-2021, and Climate Change Sub-programme 2020-2021, which includes Expected Accomplishment:

  • To strengthen the ability of countries to move towards climate-resilient and low emission pathways for sustainable development and human well-being
  • Support provided to a coalition of countries and partners to foster increased awareness, knowledge and mitigation actions on short-lived climate pollutants
  • Tools and approaches designed and piloted in countries that allow them to develop mitigation plans, policies, measures and low-emission development strategies, and to spur investment and innovation within selected sectors in a manner that can be monitored, reported and verified”.

Urban buses produce some of the lowest levels of carbon dioxide per passenger-mile and are essential to delivering affordable low-carbon urban transport, but urban buses are predominantly powered by older technology diesel engines.

Today, urban buses are just 1% of all on-road vehicles, but they contribute approximately 25 percent of the black carbon emissions from all on-road vehicles. These buses have life spans between 12 and 23 years, so the emissions seen today reflect technology choices made over the past several decades.

To prevent future growth in diesel black carbon emissions and ensure that investments in low-carbon public transport systems deliver the climate benefits they promise, all future urban buses should be soot-free.

To this end, UNEP partnered with the Association Africaine des Transports Publics (UATP) to support the city of Lagos, Nigeria on Soot-free/Electric Buses. UATP is the Africa division of UITP, the International Association of Public Transport. The association gathers professionals in the field of public transport in Sub-Saharan Africa and provides a reference to public transport in the region.

The proposed project will support the development of cleaner bus strategies for Lagos through a cost-benefit assessment of introducing soot-free/electric buses. With a population of over 17 million, Lagos is the largest city in Africa.

The introduction of soot-free/electric buses will therefore have major health and environmental impact. The SSFA will build on similar activities being led by the UATP in Dakar, Senegal and will seek to ensure exchange of information and lessons learnt between these two cities.

The African Association of Public Transport (UATP) in co-operation with United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) with Lagos Metropolitan Transport Authority thus engaged the expertise of Natural Eco Capital led by Dr. Eugene Itua to carry out the Cost-Benefit Assessment (CBA) of Soot Free Buses in Lagos.

Towards engaging the relevant stakeholders and enriching the CBA and its process coordinated  by Natural Eco Capital and led by Dr. Itua, the African Association of Public Transport (UATP) in co-operation with United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) with the Lagos Metropolitan Transport Authority (LAMATA), held a daylong virtual National Workshop on “Cost-Benefit Assessment of Soot Free Buses in Lagos” on Thursday, November 26, 2020.

The opening remarks for the workshop was made by Dr. Fred Oladeinde, Commissioner, Lagos State Ministry of Transportation. The Commissioner, who also declared the event open, was represented by Engineer Toriola, who welcomed everyone and also pointed out the state government’s resolution to ensure efficient transportation in Lagos.

He emphasised that the need for this made the current government to include transportation as one of the key pillars of development. He noted that efficient transportation system is of vital importance for the future development of Lagos as well as traffic management.

To address this, the policy thrust is to prioritise the attainment of a reliable multimodal transportation system with emphasis on soot-free buses. Reiterating government resolve, he mentioned that priority is given to those means of travel that are less damaging to the natural and built environment and contribute to sustainable environment with climate benefits.

Goodwill Messages

The goodwill messages were presented by:

  • Mr. Dayo Adeshina, Programme Manager, National LPG Expansion and Implementation Plan, Office of the Nigeria Vice President
  • Kabir Yusuf, Technical Adviser on Energy and Emission to the Minister of Environment.

Mr. Adeshina commended the organisers and sponsors of the programme and indeed the CBA for Lagos. He noted that the philosophy is in line with Federal Government resolve to expand gas utilisation in Nigeria. He pointed out that the Federal Government was working to ensure that even in transportation gas in the form of CNG, Autogas and LPG are efficiently utilised. He assured that his office would support in the development of the CBA.

Speaking in the same vein, Mr. Yusuf asserted that the soot free transportation as is envisaged by the CBA is in line with Decarbonisaiton Plan of the Federal Ministry of Environment. He pointed out that the CBA should provide a model for other states and indeed the Federal Government to adopt in transition to soot free transportation.

Paper Presentations

“Transport Policy in Nigeria” was presented byMrs. M.O. Ilori, M. O. D., Federal Ministry of Transportation.

Under this topic, she explained that the fundamental goal of the National Transport Policy is to develop an adequate, safe, secure, environmentally sound, efficient, affordable, preferred and integrated transport system.

Accordingly, the Ministry in its effort to reduce the impact of air pollution has keyed into the National Action Plan on Climate Change and has developed projects and policies to reduce harmful gases emitted into the atmosphere.

She concluded with the Projects and Policy Initiatives championed by the Ministry to mitigate the impact of Air Pollution; environmental sustainability and the quality of life of the Nigeria citizens which were listed to include: Solar Powered Tricycle, Amphibious Vehicles, Non-Motorised Transport (NMT), Partnering with the private Sector for the Procurement of CNG Buses.

“Overview of mobility challenges in Lagos” was presented byMrs. Abimbola Akinajo, MD, LAMATA, who was represented by Engr Osa A. Konyeha.

Concerns raised include: State of roads and contribution to traffic, Density of population, and Pointing out losses incurred due to the situation.

She underlined the need for alternate sources of transport such as rail and water, saying that they could help improve lives, de-congest the state, mitigate impact on the environment and result in economic improvement.

According to her, the Lagos State Government development plans from 2014-2022 emphasises the development of rail lines, more BRT routes, as well as water routes.

“Why Soot-Free Buses?” waspresented by Jane Akumu of UNEP wherein she stressed that outdoor air pollutions especially due to black carbon from buses on most Africa roads like Lagos, has made it expedient that soot free buses be introduced.

She mentioned that small particulates are responsible for an estimated 3.7 million premature deaths annually from outdoor air pollution and that heavy-duty trucks and buses currently account for a large % of PM2.5.

She noted that BC emissions from on-road vehicles exposes anyone within a distance of 300 – 500 meters from roadway.

In her concluding remarks, she mentioned that economic benefits, health benefit and climate change and general environmental benefits should make the taking of decisions faster in the transition to soot free buses.

“Private Sector Perspective – Availability/Cost of Cleaner Buses”was presented by Fredrik Morsing of Scania West Africa wherein he stressed the benefits of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and Bio Gas (BG) as replacement for diesel engine buses in order to shift to sustainable fuel source.

He told the audience that biogas systems ((Bio-methanation) are a cheaper source of fuel, more climate friendly and less hazardous to health, and that a plant is being set up in Abidjan, Cote d Ivoire to run buses there.

“Clean Bus Procurement: Global perspectives” was presented byMr. Cisse Yssoufou, Secretary General pointed out that a global bus survey in 2018 showed that Africa has only 4% share of continent operating soot free buses.

This, he added, is considered not good enough and stressed that the more reason why the current CBA should be further supported to achieve its intended objective since Lagos hosts one of the largest populations in the world.

He emphasised the need for alternatives to fossil fuel, and encouraged a soot free bus use as part of government policies and regulations to phase out vehicles with high emissions and reduce the sulphur content in fuels.

For optimisation of e-bus operations, he suggested the following as essentials:

  • Planning of operations: route planning, vehicle schedule, staff assignment and rostering
  • Charging management:  energy supply, charging time, infrastructure
  • Battery management: range & performance, contractual aspects, warranty
  • Maintenance operations.

In his presentation on “Lagos Cost Benefit Assessment – an Overview”, Dr. Itua pointed out the urgent need for action to improve air quality in Lagos with the vehicles engines that can shrink atmospheric pollutants.

He stated that this requires deliberate efforts to ensure deployment of soot free bus with ultimate improvement of air quality and thus reduced illness and possible deaths.

He emphasised that, to prevent future growth in diesel black carbon emissions and ensure that investments in low-carbon public transport systems deliver the climate benefits they promise, all future buses should be soot-free.

He outlined the multiplier positive impacts and noted that it is in line with the Paris Agreement which stated clearly that financial flows generally must be made “consistent with a pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development and Cost-Benefit Assessment (CBA) for soot free buses to inform policy decision falls within that trajectory”.

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