The World Economic Forum today launches its Global New Mobility Coalition (GNMC), a group of over 100 experts, NGOs and companies, to reduce passenger mobility emissions by 95% through combining shared, electric and autonomous mobility. By developing and testing new and unique policies with different cities, the GNMC will promote shared, electric and autonomous mobility (SEAM) to create a cleaner city and reduce carbon emissions by 95%. These technologies can also improve mobility efficiency by 70% while decreasing commuting costs by 40%.
Currently, emissions from mobility will double by 2050. Passenger vehicles account for 70% of these mobility GHG emissions and cause over 50% of city air pollution. With a SEAM mobility approach, we could reduce the number of vehicles from the projected 2.1 billion to 0.5 billion and carbon emissions from 4,600 to less than 700 megatons by 2050 while also accounting for increasing mobility demand.
“The average car owner produces more emissions by driving than any other activity. Now that new mobility solutions such as dock-less bikes and ride-hailing have abrupted commuting norms, private and public sector leaders have to rethink space and costs of mobility options,” said Maya Ben Dror, Lead, Autonomous and Urban Mobility, World Economic Forum. “Mobility systems that are truly sustainable and centred around people can and should be adopted.”
While clean and accessible transportation is possible with new mobility technologies, coordinated public-private action to achieve these goals is lagging behind. Concerted effort from business, policy-makers and citizens is needed to prevent irreversible climate warming; these efforts must begin quickly. The GNMC will work with local policymakers in Europe, China and the United States to develop unique policy frameworks that support this action.
Policies considered are those that cater for the long-term vision of sustainable mobility:
Prioritised lanes and zones for SEAM, including charging infrastructure and dedicated curb-space
For example, by investing in faster charging for high-occupancy shared rides, as opposed to single occupancy ones, not only will the electrification of fleets be encouraged but there will also be higher utilisation of every vehicle on the road. This will lead to less street space needed to move the same amount of people at equal or higher speeds. It takes 13 lanes to move 10,000 people in cars and just 2 to move them in high occupancy modes.
Road-pricing and parking fares as cost levers for internalising true mobility costs
The list of negative societal, environmental and economic impacts external to current costs of mobility is long; road pricing and parking fares can help account for these externalities. In London, for example, private gasoline-powered vehicles cause 80% of health-threatening particulate matter. Not surprisingly, London introduced congestion pricing that incentivize vehicles emitting less than 75g/km of CO2 or have nine seats. GNMC advocates for lower road, toll and zone pricing for shared-rides which are electric and where possible – automated.
Accelerating the use of SEAM technologies can also free up to 90% of street and parking space for other uses while ensuring mobility access for all. With this new space, citizens and policy-makers can reinvent uses that put people and cities, not cars, back to the centre.
The GNMC’s steering committee includes representatives from: Uber, Via, BMW, Ford, ClimateWorks, Energy Foundation China, RMI, China EV100, Technion, and UC Davis. Among its partner coalitions are C40, Polis Network, ITF, and AutoEV100.
Quotes from coalition members:
“The potential for shared, electric and autonomous technologies to provide affordable and sustainable mobility is tremendous. Achieving this potential will require collaboration between civil society, government, researchers and business to implement key enabling policies and the GNMC is a key venue for this collaboration,” says Anthony Eggert, Director, ClimateWorks.
“Transportation emissions are a major cause of climate change and inequality. To solve these problems, we need smart policies and effective partnerships between cities and the private sector to deliver sustainable, equitable, and efficient transportation solutions for all. Via looks forward to continuing to address transportation emissions as an inaugural member of the Global New Mobility Coalition,” says Andrei Greenawalt, Head of Policy, Via.
“The automobile industry has entered an unprecedented period of profound transformation and will develop rapidly towards the direction of electrified, intelligent, connected, shared and green mobility, which will give birth to a completely different travel ecology. Under this background, the Global New Mobility Coalition is launched here today. As China’s industry think tank promoting the development of EV industry and sustainable transportation, I am very happy to announce that China EV100 will cooperate with GNMC to promote public-private cooperation, turn knowledge into action, and strive for better future mobility and sustainable transportation,” says Zhang Yongwei, Secretary General of China EV100.
“The global community is demanding better from our transportation systems: we want them to be more efficient, more equitable, and less polluting. Getting this right will take a diverse array of research, business, and policy voices. The GNMC is an exciting opportunity for these communities to work together and harness the “3 Revolutions” of shared, automated, and electric mobility for a better future,” says Austin Brown, UC Davis.
“We’re proud to be a founding member of the GNMC. The majority of Uber’s portfolio is invested in sharing, electric and automated mobility technologies. It’s critical that we continue to work in collaboration with other experts – in the public and private sectors – to scale these innovations in ways that can address the long-standing environmental challenges cities face from transportation,” says Adam Gromis, Head of Sustainability Policy, Uber.
“I’m delighted to be a member of the Global New Mobility Coalition on behalf of the Transportation Sustainability Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley. It’s a critical time for the public and private sectors, as well as academia and non-governmental organizations, to partner in developing strategies and understanding to maximize the social and environmental benefits of integrated shared, electric (zero-emission), and automated mobility (SEAM),” says Professor Susan Shaheen, Co-Director of the Transportation Sustainability Research Center, University of California, Berkeley, USA.
About the Global New Mobility Coalition
The Global New Mobility Coalition (GNMC) is a group of over 100 institutions brought together by the World Economic Forum to support a reduction in carbon emissions, increased transport efficiency and other goals through increased use of shared, electric and autonomous mobility technology. The GNMC aims to reduce CO2 emissions by 95%, improve transport efficiency by 70% and reduce mobility costs by 40% with its policy frameworks.
Currently, the GNMC has over 100 members from North America, Europe and Asia, of which 40% are from the private sector, 35% NGOs and 25% academia.
Local treasures: Nepal’s mountain crops drive biodiversity and economic growth
Remote mountainous regions of Nepal are harsh places in which to survive and make a living.
Economic, social and environmental challenges include lack of market access, outmigration, dependency on imports and subsidies, women’s drudgery, malnutrition, unpredictable weather, pests and diseases.
To tackle some of these challenges, UNEP and partners are working with the local community to conserve biodiversity of crops, to boost food security and resilience.
The 2014-2020 Global Environment Facility-supported project was implemented by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and executed by Bioversity International in collaboration with national partners—the Nepal Agricultural Research Council, the Department of Agriculture, and Local Initiatives for Biodiversity, Research and Development.
It covers eight sites, at altitudes ranging from 1,500 to 3,000 metres above sea level, in the districts of Humla, Jumla, Lamjung and Dolakha, in Western, Central and Eastern Nepal. High‑elevation agricultural systems often have high levels of environmental instability. Eight mountain crops – buckwheat, common bean, finger millet, foxtail millet, proso millet, grain amaranth, naked barley and cold tolerant high-altitude rice – are targeted.
The project faced two major hurdles in five years: devastating earthquakes in March and April 2015, which badly affected two of the four sites, as well as a major administrative reform which saw the introduction of a new federal system in 2017.
Despite the disruptions, government officials believe the project has made a difference. “The project has developed the foundation for promoting and mainstreaming traditional crops,” says Deepak Bhandari, Executive Director of the Nepal Agricultural Research Council. He also hailed the launching of the national project website.
“The project made us aware of the value of local crops,” says Depsara Upadhaya, a farmer from Chhipra village in the northwest of Nepal. “We received support to establish a community seedbank in the village, and electric machines were made available to process finger and proso millet. This brought great relief to women in my village by reducing the physical strain of manual threshing.”
Under the project, four community seed banks were established to conserve rare, local mountain crops. The banks now conserve 232 unique and endangered varieties of 56 crops. UNEP and partners also encouraged best practices for mainstreaming agrobiodiversity in agriculture through community biodiversity management funds, farmers’ field schools and seed exchanges.
Making a difference
“Crop biodiversity contributes to nature, which is an essential source of many drugs used in modern medicine. Globally, nearly half of the human population depends on natural resources for its livelihood,” says UNEP biodiversity expert Marieta Sakalian.
Since its inception in 2014, the project has been boosting mountain crop biodiversity for the benefit of local communities and farmers. Results include:
- 20,000 households received seeds, germplasm and information on how to conserve and grow mountain crops.
- 300 germplasms of eight target crops were sent to project sites for on-farm testing. Over 60 were selected for use by farmers.
- 500 local crop genes have been stored in the national gene bank for future breeding.
- In 2019, low-interest, collateral-free loans were given to 58 farmers – mostly women – by a community biodiversity trust fund.
- Electric threshers for millet reduced women’s’ physical labor and improve efficiency. Finger millet threshers were distributed to over 500 households. Eight improved pieces of processing equipment were given to communities.
- Capacity building of over 100 local farmers, many of them women
- Over 70 publications—books, flyers, posters, blogs and brochures—were produced.
How to preserve biodiversity: EU policy
In order to preserve endangered species, the EU wants to improve and preserve biodiversity on the continent.
In January, Parliament called for an ambitious EU 2030 Biodiversity Strategy to address the main drivers of biodiversity loss, and set legally binding targets, including conservation of at least 30% of natural areas and 10% of the long-term budget devoted to biodiversity
In response, and as part of the Green Deal, the European Commission presented the new 2030 strategy in May 2020.
MEP chair Pascal Canfin, chair of Parliament’s environment committee, welcomed the commitment to cut pesticide use with 50% and for 25% of farm products to be organic by 2030 as well as the 30% conservation target, but said the strategies must be transformed into EU law and implemented.
What has been done to safeguard biodiversity and endangered species in Europe?
EU efforts to improve biodiversity are ongoing under the 2020 Biodiversity Strategy, which was introduced in 2010.
The EU’s 2020 Biodiversity Strategy
- The Birds Directive aims to protect all 500 wild bird species naturally occurring in the EU
- The Habitats Directive ensures the conservation of a wide range of rare, threatened or endemic animal and plant species, including some 200 rare and characteristic habitat types
- Natura 2000 is the largest network of protected areas in the world, with core breeding and resting sites for rare and threatened species, and rare natural habitat types
- The EU Pollinator’s Initiative aims to address the decline of pollinators in the EU and contribute to global conservation efforts, focusing on improving knowledge of the decline, tackling the causes and raising awareness
Additionally, the European Life programme brought for example the Iberian Lynx and the Bulgarian lesser kestrel back from near extinction.
The final assessment of the 2020 strategy has yet to be concluded, but according to the midterm assessment, approved by Parliament, the targets to protect species and habitats, maintain and restore ecosystems and make seas healthier were making progress, but had to speed up.
The objective to combat the invasion of alien species was well on track. In strong contrast, the contribution of agriculture and forestry to maintain and enhance biodiversity had made little progress.
The Natura 2000 network of protected nature areas in Europe has increased significantly over the past decade and now covers more than 18% of the EU land area.
Between 2008 and 2018, the marine Natura 2000 network grew more than fourfold to cover 360,000 km2. Many bird species have recorded increases in population and the status of many other species and habitats has significantly improved.
Despite its successes, the scale of these initiatives is insufficient to offset the negative trend. The main drivers of biodiversity loss – loss and degradation of habitat, pollution, climate change and invasive alien species – persist and many are on the increase, requiring a much greater effort.
The EU’s 2030 Biodiversity Strategy
For the next 10 years, the EU will focus on an EU-wide network of protected areas on land and at sea, concrete commitments to restore degraded systems, enable change by making the measures workable and binding and take the lead in tackling biodiversity on a global level.
The new strategy outlining the EU ambition for the post-2020 global biodiversity framework was due to be adopted at the 15th UN Convention on Biological Diversity in October 2020 in China, which has been postponed.
Once adopted, the Commission plans to make concrete proposals by 2021.
As the world’s forests continue to shrink, urgent action is needed to safeguard their biodiversity
Urgent action is needed to safeguard the biodiversity of the world’s forests amid alarming rates of deforestation and degradation, according to the latest edition of The State of the World’s Forests released today.
Published on the International Day for Biological Diversity (22 May), the report shows that the conservation of the world’s biodiversity is utterly dependent on the way in which we interact with and use the world’s forests.
The report was produced by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in partnership, for the first time, with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and technical input from the UN Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC).
It highlights that some 420 million hectares of forest have been lost through conversion to other land uses since 1990, although the rate of deforestation has decreased over the past three decades.
The COVID-19 crisis has thrown into sharp focus the importance of conserving and sustainably using nature, recognizing that people’s health is linked to ecosystem health.
Protecting forests is key to this, as they harbour most of the Earth’s terrestrial biodiversity. This report shows that forests contain 60,000 different tree species, 80 percent of amphibian species, 75 percent of bird species, and 68 percent of the Earth’s mammal species.
FAO’s Global Forest Resources Assessment 2020, noted in the report, found that despite a slowing of the rate of deforestation in the last decade, some 10 million hectares are still being lost each year through conversion to agriculture and other land uses.
“Deforestation and forest degradation continue to take place at alarming rates, which contributes significantly to the ongoing loss of biodiversity,” FAO Director-General, QU Dongyu, and the Executive Director of UNEP, Inger Andersen, said in the foreword.
The report presents a comprehensive overview of forest biodiversity, including world maps revealing where forests still hold rich communities of fauna and flora, such as the northern Andes and parts of the Congo Basin, and where they have been lost.
Conservation and sustainable use:
In this report, a special study from the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission and the US Forest Service found 34.8 million patches of forests in the world, ranging in size from 1 hectare to 680 million hectares. Greater restoration efforts to reconnect forest fragments are urgently needed.
As FAO and UNEP prepare to lead the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration from 2021 and as countries consider a Global Biodiversity Framework for the future, Qu and Andersen both expressed their commitment for increased global cooperation to restore degraded and damaged ecosystems, combat climate change and safeguard biodiversity.
“To turn the tide on deforestation and the loss of biodiversity, we need transformational change in the way in which we produce and consume food,” said QU and Andersen. “We also need to conserve and manage forests and trees within an integrated landscape approach and we need to repair the damage done through forest restoration efforts.”
The report notes that the Aichi Biodiversity Target to protect at least 17 percent of the Earth’s terrestrial areas by 2020 has been achieved for forests, although progress is still required to ensure the representativeness and effectiveness of such protection.
A study conducted by UNEP-WCMC for this report shows that the largest increase in protected forest areas occurred in broadleaved evergreen forests – such as those typically found in the tropics. Furthermore, over 30 percent of all tropical rainforests, subtropical dry forests and temperate oceanic forests are now located within protected areas.
Jobs and livelihoods:
Millions of people around the world depend on forests for their food security and livelihoods.
Forests provide more than 86 million green jobs. Of those living in extreme poverty, over 90 percent are dependent on forests for wild food, firewood or part of their livelihoods. This number includes eight million extremely poor, forest-dependent people in Latin America alone.
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