Transport and Climate Change


Pretoria – With the transport sector reportedly being the fastest growing emitter of carbon emissions in South Africa, the impact of transport on the environment will be top of the agenda at this year’s Southern African Transport Conference (SATC).

This is even more important considering that the 17th Conference of the Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP17) is due to take place in Durban later this year.

The SATC is taking place from 11-14 July 2011 at the CSIR Convention Centre in Pretoria, and will open on Monday, 11 July with a special session on the role of transport in climate change chaired by Deputy Minister of Transport, Jeremy Cronin.

Commenting ahead of the conference, Cronin said: “The transport sector’s high carbon emissions are due to South Africa’s urban sprawl and our poorly integrated and inefficient transport solutions. Managing travel demand and developing integrated, effective public transport systems are crucial in addressing this on-going challenge.”

Cronin went on to say that focussing on transport alone would not solve high carbon emissions and that factors such as developing compact, sustainable cities, and promoting residence and workplace proximity will play a key role in improving the viability of public transport, hence lowering South Africa’s carbon emissions.

Cronin will be chairing the session on transport and climate change, with other high profile speakers, such as the Deputy Minister of Science and Technology, Derek Hanekom; Louise Naude, National Climate Change Officer at the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF); Dr Gary Kendall from the University of Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership; and William Agyemang-Bonsu of the UNFCC providing their insights into the contribution of transport towards greenhouse gas emissions.

“The session aims to get to grips with the challenges and solutions needed in the transport sector to curb its impact on climate change. Sustainable transport solutions will be interrogated, and questions raised about technology’s role in addressing some these challenges,” says Pauline Froschauer, a member of the Organising Committee for the SATC.

Froschauer believes that the transport sector needs to apply the “Avoid, Shift and Improve” approach by avoiding unnecessary travel, shifting to low carbon non-motorised and public transport, while improving motorised transport to reduce emissions.”

With this year’s conference theme being ‘Africa on the Move’, transport experts from the private and public sectors will tackle critical transport issues on the African continent through a series of action-based plenary sessions, panel discussions and workshops. – SA Transport Conference