Fast-rising family incomes and brisk demand for cars will treble Asia's greenhouse gas emissions over the next 25 years, according to a study backed by the Asian Development Bank and released Thursday.
The report, "Energy Efficiency and Climate Change: Considerations for On-Road Transport in Asia," presents one of the first comprehensive analyses of the relationships between transport and climate change in Asia, Philippines-based ADB said in a statement.
Even under the most optimistic current scenarios for road traffic expansion management, emissions of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide from the Asian transport sector will treble over the next 25 years, the study said.
At the same time, local air pollution and congestion from transport will rise to levels that seriously hamper the ability to move people and goods in an effective manner, it added.
Emerging Asia currently has rather low levels of personal motorized transport, in many cases comprising mainly motorcycles, the bank said.
But these levels are likely to increase drastically as incomes in these countries grow and the urban population expands, it added.
It cited fast-growing China, already the world's fourth largest economy, where the number of cars and sport utility vehicles could grow by as much as 15 times the present level over the next 30 years to more than 190 million vehicles.
In India, the growth could be as much as 13 times, it added.
Correspondingly, carbon dioxide emissions from these vehicles could be expected to rise by 3.4 times for China and 5.8 times for India over the same period, the study said.
"Progress toward reducing the growth of greenhouse gases from the transport sector will require partnerships and involvement of a wide range of stakeholders," Bindu Lohani, director-general of ADB's sustainable development department, wrote in its foreword.
Addressing these problems effectively would mean "changing existing travel behavior patterns and modifying urban development patterns to minimize the type, length, and frequency of trips that people need to take," he added.
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