Air Pollution and Electric Mobility as a Solution
The 3rd Climate Scouts
Air Pollution and fine dust are the subject of our daily conversation and especially in Korea it has become one of the major concerns of our time. Checking the level of fine dust to decide to go out or not using applications or website is not an unusual thing anymore. In Korea, nearly 280,000 people joined online petition to require National Assembly to take immediate measures against the fine dust problem. And I am sure this is not a problem that is confined to Korea.
In Hanoi, capital city of Vietnam, level of air quality was six times in excess of what is deemed acceptable by the World Health Organization’s (WHO) guideline and a study released by the WHO last March found that air pollution can be one of the most lethal environmental threats to human health especially in Asia. But what’s more serious is that many Asian countries are still not fully aware of the danger that air pollution can cause nor prepared for it.
Under such circumstances, Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) has been working on projects to tackle air pollution problems cooperating with governments of each country. Among the several major causes of air pollution, GGGI paid attention to transportation.
Transport is a significant and growing contributor to particulate air pollution exposures. Especially low-income countries in Asia suffer disproportionately from transport-generated pollution in which old and inefficient diesel vehicles are dominant. For instance, three-wheelers are the common form of public transport in South Asia, while they are also the one of the major sources of air pollution. As a result, GGGI paid attention to promote electric mobility. It is planning to disseminate electric transportation in many countries such as Nepal, India, and Jordan.
Among them, Nepal’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) which was developed by the Ministry of Forests and Environment (MOFE) and submitted to the UNFCCC in October 2016, takes electric mobility into account and Nepal has set plans to promote electric vehicles by 2050. GGGI launched the Electric Mobility Program in 2017, which supports the implementation of NDCs by boosting the adoption of electric vehicles in Nepal.
GGGI designed it by reviewing Nepal’s NDCS and related national policies (Part 1); exploring the transport sector and most effective policy options for increased adoption of electric vehicles (Part 2); identifying a wide range of barriers and issues that are currently restricting adoption of electric vehicles (Part 3); and outlining key proposed actions and initiatives for overcoming these barriers (Part 4).
According to GGGI’s annual report, It delivered a program briefing and presentation to the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport gaining broad approval for the Electric Mobility NDC Implementation Plan over July and August, interviews were held with national and local government representatives as well as scientific and development organizations in Nepal. A consumer survey to gauge consumer satisfaction, views and motivations for switching to private electric vehicles was also undertaken.
GGGI’s effort to reduce air pollutants in Nepal is expected to have significant impacts as cumulative local pollutant emissions are estimated to decrease under the different scenarios when compared against BAU level. Moreover, it is also meaningful that increased adoption of electric vehicles across the transport sector is not only expected to reduce air pollutants and improve air quality, but reduce final energy consumption, and enhance energy security as the level of diversification in energy mix will increase.
Although there are still some obstacles to overcome such as a lack of infrastructure and markets and lower level of awareness regarding electric vehicles, GGGI and the government of Nepal work hard and show progresses in the areas such as policies regarding subsidies. So, I believe GGGI’s efforts will be a great step in solving the air pollution problems that have threatened the health of low-income countries.
As a countermeasure to air quality and energy problems, electric vehicles are in the spotlight and related projects are under way in many countries, and Korea is no exception. Over the years, the Korean electric vehicles market has grown dramatically, and the number of domestic registrations is expected to surpass 20,000 by the end of this year. However, the lack of infrastructure that fails to keep up with the increase the number of electric vehicles is being criticized. This seems to be due to a lack of consumer demand analysis.
To address this, it seems a good idea to use Nepal’s case as an example to increase the opportunity to share and collaborate on the distribution of electric vehicles between government agencies and increase the number of consumer surveys.
 Sinsiri Tiwutanond , Q&A: Air Pollution Remains Cause for Alarm in Asia