The global price hikes in petroleum products have become a burden for the citizens of the world due to their correlation with the rise in prices of other essential commodities. However, when this “predicament” is viewed with the sustainability lens, it presents a great fortune of opportunity to business moguls, investors, researchers, governments etcetera.
Instead of the wailings by the citizens of the world, let us begin to psyche our people and also have conversations on how to attract investors to build infrastructure for the future of transportation through renewable energy-powered transportation systems such as e-vehicles and the like.
I think that the rise in fuel prices is a good disincentive for those driving on fossil fuels to begin to think of investing in E-Vehicles and other hybrid vehicles.
A call for a reduction in emissions as a result of fossil fuels consumption became a global emergency as declared by the UN Secretary-General António Guterres during the 2020 climate ambition summit. This statement was made in line with the Paris Agreement on measures to be put in place to mitigate climate change. A major contributor to such emissions is the transport sector.
The transportation sector emits about 23% of CO2 globally, of which the greater percentage results from the combustion of fossil fuels (Liu et al., 2015). In the case of Ghana, the overall energy sector emissions were estimated at 15.02 MtCO2e in 2016. CO2 constituted 93% of the total energy sector aggregation in 2016 (EPA, 2016). The sizeable contribution of the sector to climate change is very threatening and alarming, hence the need for urgent actions.
Furthermore, the interlinkages between the sustainable goals 7, 12, and 13 coupled with the strategies put in place by the UN to increase the manufacturing and usage of renewable energy-powered vehicles by 2030. Transitioning into clean and affordable fuels by 2030 is a very sensitive decision that requires bold actions and targets by all parties.
These targets have pushed several automobile industries to set ambitious targets to manufacture vehicles that are powered by renewable energy sources by 2030. The targets of SDG 7 suggest that by 2030 about 50% to 80% of vehicles should be powered by renewable energy sources.
In this context, Bioethanol, Biodiesel, biogas or natural, solar-powered vehicles, and electric vehicles serve as a promising avenue for delivering clean transport fuels to the world. This could mean that the vehicles would fully run on these renewable energy sources or it could be a hybrid system.
Scaling down to the Ghana scenario, the fleet population is 70 per 1000 population. If we are to go by these statistics, then it means that about 2.2 million cars in Ghana are currently running on fossil fuels.
This presents a good business case and a plethora of opportunities for business individuals and governments within the global south to think of alternative ways of producing renewable energy fuels within the country to contribute to the energy mix within the transportation sector, as it is being done in Brazil and other developed economies.
Also, considering its associated emissions, experts within the carbon financing enclave can take advantage and make meaningful contributions to make the world a better place for posterity.
Ing. Rejoice Ntiriwaa Ossei-Bremange, Expert, Sustainable Energy, and Environment & Lecturer, Cape Coast Technical University, Ghana. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org