World Bank study points to potential in emission reduction in China's urban transport

July 22, 2010

BEIJING, July 22, 2010 – A new World Bank working paper published online today points to the potential for public policy actions as key to CO2 emission reductions in China’s urban transport.
Urban Transport and CO2 Emissions: Some Evidence from Chinese Cities provides a preliminary analysis of urban transport characteristics, energy use and CO2 emissions for a diverse set of cities in China.  “As China’s urban transport sector is gearing up to contribute to the government’s target for CO2 intensity reduction, a crucial first step is to establish a clear baseline for monitoring and evaluating progress. We hope that the paper would contribute in a small way to the current efforts in many Chinese cities,” said Mr. Shomik Raj Mehndiratta, one of the authors of the paper and a Senior Urban Transport Specialist of the World Bank. 
The estimates of urban transport related energy use and CO2 emissions were based on data available between 1993 and 2006 from 17 Chinese cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chongqing, Xi’an, Wuhan, Jinan, Zhengzhou, Nanchang, Urumqi, Luoyang, Dongguan, Xianyang, Jiaozuo, Linfen, Weihai and Changzhi.  These cities represent a significant share and wide spectrum of Chinese urban areas and municipalities.
The study found that increases in energy use and CO2 emissions in recent years could be attributable to the increases in total personal trips and travel distance, and the steady shift towards motorized, low occupancy modes of transport such as private cars.  The contribution of these broad trends of urban transport to CO2 emissions has so far outpaced the CO2 emission reduction achieved by vehicle efficiency and fuel performance improvements.
The study also found that the level of urban transport related CO2 emissions varies significantly not only among cities of different levels of per capita income, but also among cities of similar income level.  This implies that in addition to the motorization level which is generally associated with per capita income, other policy factors such as priority to public transport and restriction on private cars are also significant determinants of CO2 emissions.
Since its first loan to China’s urban transport sector in 1993, the World Bank has lent over $1.8 billion to support 13 urban transport projects.  In addition to lending operations, the World Bank also provides policy analysis and advice to the central and municipal governments of China, with some in collaboration with local experts and research institutes.  Recent study and advisory program focuses on issues and policy options for addressing energy efficiency and climate change in urban transport sector.

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