The Hyderabad-Deccan English Daily

India's emission standards unsatisfactory: Centre for Science and Environment (CSE)

New Delhi July 24 (IBNS): A workshop on vehicular emissions on Wednesday said that while the Indian government is dreaming big on energy security, a nightmare scenario is unfolding which can shatter all its visions of energy independence - the country's transport sector is merrily guzzling fuel away.

It was noted in the workshop that more than 40 percent of the oil and oil products in the country go into running vehicles. In fact, if this guzzling continues unabated, it can virtually wipe out the gains of fuel savings from all other steps, and undermine all efforts at reducing climate change risks as enshrined in the National Climate Change Plan.

This emerged from the first day's deliberations at an international workshop held here on Wednesday on `Vehicles: Taming emissions, fuel guzzling and warming`.

This workshop was part of a two-day workshop series on `Transport and Climate`, organised by Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).

Speaking at the workshop, Sunita Narain, director general, CSE said, "Even as the country faces the serious challenge of importing 94 percent of its crude oil by 2030, there is no serious effort to prepare a fuel saving roadmap for all modes of transport. Our oil import bill isalready close to 7 per cent of the GDP."

"Import dependence has made India vulnerable to oil price shocks. At the same time, the ministryof environment and forests inventory shows that the transportationsector is the 4th largest emitter of heat trapping greenhouse gases in India while it remains the key emitter of toxics. Cities are becoming energy guzzlers and heat trappers -- in Delhi, the transport sector is responsible for close tohalf of all CO2 emissions,?Narain said.

The CSE review of the current challenges and solutions has exposed the following.

Delayed and lax proposal for fuel saving standards for cars is leading to enormous fuel loss. Even after negotiating for over five years on fuel economy standards for cars, the standards have not been implemented. 

The approved Corporate Average Fuel Consumption Standards have laid down a target of 18.15 km/litre (or 129.8 gm of CO2/km) in 2015 and 20.79 km/litre (or 113 gm of CO2/km) in 2020, after adjusting for increase in the average weight of the car fleet. Even these weak standards are being delayed for implemented in 2022. 

India is the only vehicle producing region that has not set fuel economy targets. This has serious implications, given India's dependence on imported crude oil and vulnerability of India's economy to oil price vagaries, CSE said.

According to the International Energy Agency, future energy demand in India's transport sector will be largely driven by cars, after the heavy duty segment. The total car fuel demand in 2030 will be more than the total road transport sector consumption in 2007. It is not fair to incur enormous energy costs and suffer climate risks because of the use of personal vehicles.

CSE said any further delay will come at enormous energy cost. 

"If a lax proposal of 113 CO2gm/km is implemented beyond 2020, then the country can get cumulative oil savings of only 95.9 metric tonnes of energy between 2010 and 2030. But if the government insists on protecting the 2.8 percent annual natural improvement in fuel economy achieved by industry between 2006 and 2010 and set the target at 104 CO2gm/km by 2020, then cumulative oil savings can be 134 million metric tonnes of energy - 1.3 times more than 96 million metric tonnes from delayed standards implementation," CSE said.

Delay in implementation will keep compounding fuel losses and increase the difference in cumulative savings between 2010 and 2035.

It said India will lose its advantage in the global race as India is starting

the race from one of the best baselines in 2010 - 141 gm of CO2/km. The European CO2 standard for cars for 2012 is 140 gm CO2/km. 

But Europe will leapfrog to 95 gm/km in 2020. In fact, Europe has gone ahead and specified a target range of 68-78 g/km for cars in 2025 - which is what the Indian two-wheelers meet today. 

Fuel economy standards for other vehicle segments are also getting delayed. Nearly all bus transport corporations are reporting either stagnation or

decline in fuel economy of their fleets. In Delhi, the fuel economy of CNG buses is stagnating. 

Buses are bigger, more powerful with higher torque and there is no fuel economy standard for them. This costs huge money to the bus companies. There is also a need for improved bus operations to cut operational fuel losses. 

A recent study by CAI Asia shows that by reducing idling by 10 minutes, the Bangalore transport corporation can save 100 litres per bus or Rs 3 crore annually. Also, with the help of improved drivers training and maintenance of the fleet, a saving of Rs. 23 crore annually is possible.

CSE review said the quality of diesel fuel and technology available in India is not a climate winner. So far known for toxic and cancerous particulate emissions, diesel vehicles are now being blamed for increasing global warming impacts -- studies show that diesel black carbon emissions are heat absorbing. 

Therefore, reducing black carbon from diesel vehicles gives both climate and public health benefits.

Comparatively lower CO2 emissions from diesel vehicles compared to petrol vehicles also gets negated, CSE observed.

"India urgently needs near-zero sulphur diesel and particulate traps to eliminate toxic and heat-trapping black carbon. This co-benefit of clean diesel must be accounted for in the technology roadmap," it said.

Dieselisation is also increasing the weight of the car fleet and leading tomore guzzling. With the explosive increase in car numbers and gradual increase in average weight of the new car fleet, the energy penalty will be enormous. As the weight of average car fleet is increasing, it is undoing fuel saving gains. 

Due to these trends, fuel economy (km/litre) has stagnated and even declined by 1 per cent during the same period. This is unacceptable when the country is rapidly motorizing and reeling under energy crisis.

Bigger engines guzzle more fuel. Diesel is pushing the market towards bigger cars and SUVs, that guzzle more fuel and undermines fuel efficiency advantages of small cars. 

"Adding to this complex challenge is the continuous shift of freight traffic from railways to the roadways. Railways' share in freight traffic in India is close to 30 per cent. In case of passenger transport, the share of rail is as low as 15 per cent."

"A diesel truck consumes more than three times energy compared to rail on diesel per net tonne kilometer. We need a balance to promote rail-based mobility for long-range travel as it is more efficient than road," CSE noted.

The Indian civil aviation sector has witnessed a growth rate of about 40 per cent annually (2008-09 to 2009-10). Consumption of aviation turbine fuel has also increased by about 40 per cent. Greenhouse gas emissions from aviation have more than trebled since 1994. 

The IEA (2010) estimated an exceptional increase in emissions of 165.7 per cent between 1990 and 2008, compared to the world average of 76.1 per cent. 

India needs immediate steps for the Aviation Environmental Unit" Initiative of the Director General of Civil Aviation to come up with integrated approach that includes technology and operational practices; modification in Climb, cruise and descent cycle; additional aspects of business strategies and models; demand management; air transport management, airport management, "Route Dispersion Guidelines" to minimise planes operating on routes with a low load factor among


Inland waterways have significant advantages over all other transportation systems. It ensures more efficient carriage. 

CSE said poor navigability of rivers limits the transportation potential of the rivers and canals of Mahanadi, Godavari and Krishna.

According to CSE, India needs multi-pronged strategies to fulfill the vision of reducing oil imports, strengthening energy security and cutting down GHG

emissions and protecting public health. 

Areas of specific focus could be on implementing fuel economy standards for cars, prepare roadmap for fuel economy standards for bus, trucks and two-wheelers.

India will need to create niche for advanced vehicle technologies, CSE said. Government of India has already come up with a proposal to incentives hybrid and electric vehicles. But such measures must be placed within a larger framework of improving fuel efficiency in all vehicle segments. 

"Ensure that both emissions and efficiency improve together: Auto fuel policy can ensure there is no trade-off between efficiency and emissions," CSE said.

"Shift to more fuel efficient freight modes. Improve freight modal share of railways and waterways. This requires integrated inter-modal planning for freight and passenger movement in the country. The holistic plan must also set time table for better management of aviation sector for more effective fuel savings," it added.



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