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Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru have been chosen as case studies in new Norwegian study on climate change

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Pune (Dec. 10, 2014): The Research Council of Norway has launched a new research project ‘CLIMATRANS – Coping with Climate: Assessing Transport Sector Strategies for Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation for Indian Cities’ that will be implemented during the next three years. The project will assess climate change impacts in urban areas in India and aims to develop mitigation and adaptation strategies for the transport sector. Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru have been selected as case cities for further research.

The Indian transport system is one of the largest in the world and the demand for mobility and energy use for the transport sector has increased with rapid growth of economic activity. India is experiencing a dramatic increase in urbanization and increase in car ownership, which has resulted in a number of negative impacts.

“It is important to study Indian cities in terms of both their present as well as the projected transport sector contributions to local emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions and the impacts of future climate change. In fact, climate change might already have caused adverse effects on different settlements in India,” explains Dr Farideh Ramjerdi, Institute of Transportation Economics, Norway, who is the CLIMATRANS project manager.

CLIMATRANS is an interdisciplinary project within the realms of social and natural sciences and in close consultation with city and national stakeholders. Institute of Transport Economics and Meteorological Institute in Norway and four Indian research institutions – The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI, New Delhi), School of Planning and Architecture (SPA, New Delhi), Indian Institute of Science (IISc, Bangalore) and Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IIT Bombay) – will collaborate in this research.

“Bengaluru is one of the fastest growing cities in Asia with a thousand vehicles being registered everyday. In 15 years, the city is projected to have 4.7 million cars on its roads. Increasing congestion and slow peak hour speeds are a result of private vehicles taking up 90 per cent of road space. But policies have so far focussed on constructing elevated roads and underpasses rather than improving public transit facilities and non-motorized transport,” points out Prof Ashish Verma, CLIMATRANS project partner from IISc, Bangalore. “It is important to understand the consequences of these trends in terms of climate change mitigation and adaptation so that policy makers in Bengaluru have a clear scientific perspective while framing transport policy towards a sustainable city.”

“In Delhi, vehicles contribute to an estimated 67 per cent of the total pollution load,” remarks Prof Sanjay Gupta, CLIMATRANS project partner from SPA, Delhi. “While various policy interventions such as reduction in sulphur content of diesel and petrol, implementation of Euro norms and CNG have led to reduction of emission levels, the progress is far from satisfactory and needs a serious relook in terms of evolving desirable policies and strategies which ultimately would improve the environmental quality of the city.”

“We hope that the project will enhance our understanding of how climate change affects the transportation sector and vice-versa. The outcome of the project should help policy makers in developing strategic transport plans for adaptation and mitigation,” says Dr Munish Chandel, CLIMATRANS project partner from IIT Bombay.

“As the countries of the world discuss climate commitments in Lima this week and in Paris next year, this study will produce valuable information for the transport sector in India,” notes Ms Neha Pahuja, CLIMATRANS project partner from TERI.