Reducing transport emissions: Time to be pragmatic!

By Pavlina Zdraveva, UNDP

It’s mission impossible to drive in Skopje with your car windows down. Opening the vents is not an option either, as the car instantly fills with smoke from surrounding vehicles.

Obviously, I don’t want my kids to breathe the air coming out of the tailpipes of other cars. And this sentiment is shared by every parent in the capital!

Everyday, roads in Skopje are full of exhaust fumes from cars that should long since have been consigned to the scrapheap. (Find out more about: air quality in the country)

Most vehicles in the city are old, pumping out clouds of smoke as they lurch and rattle along the congested streets.

The fleet of outdated vehicles poses a major challenge to the country’s goal of achieving a 22 percent reduction in emissions of greenhouse gases by 2020.

What is needed to make progress in this area is a pragmatic approach, which addresses the reality on the ground: Most people simply cannot afford cars that meet EU standards.

In many cases drivers do not even have the means to maintain their cars appropriately.

This is why UNDP’s Country Office in Skopje has recently supported the Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning with preparing a case study (pdf) to analyze the financial implications of reducing emissions of greenhouse gases based on the realities of the country.

As part of this study, the national Academy of Sciences and Arts analysed a number of policy measures to prevent the doubling of carbon dioxide emissions by 2020.

The findings will help to set priorities for a national transport policy that includes measures for mitigating climate change and improving air quality.

As the study points out, using low viscosity lubricant can reduce fuel consumption by 4.6 percent. Public awareness campaigns for improving travel behaviour, meanwhile, can reduce fuel consumption by one percent by 2020. Such campaigns can inform people, for example, that using public transport instead of private cars to get to work can save them up to $327 per year.

Find out more about our work with sustainable energy and green transportation.

Transport vs. reduction of Greenhouse Gases