Press Release: New Reports Highlight Opportunities to Curb Growth of Transport Sector Emissions in Developing Countries

For Immediate Release:  
July 20, 2001

Contact: Katie Mandes, 703-516-4146
   Dale Curtis, 202-777-3530

New Reports Highlight Opportunities to Curb Growth of Transport Sector Emissions in Developing Countries

Delhi, Shanghai studies identify low-cost policies that also improve traffic and air quality

(BONN, Germany) - Greenhouse gas emissions from cars and other vehicles are likely to soar in Delhi and Shanghai over the next two decades, but could be substantially curtailed through public and private sector initiatives that would also ease traffic congestion and cut air pollution, according to two new reports released today by the Pew Center on Global Climate Change.

The reports' authors found that transport-related greenhouse gas emissions could rise as much as fourfold in Delhi, and sevenfold in Shanghai, by 2020. Policies that promote cleaner technologies, public transit and other transportation alternatives could cut the projected emission increases by as much as half, the authors concluded.

"One of the greatest challenges we face in addressing climate change is helping developing countries forge cleaner, more sustainable paths to development," said Eileen Claussen, president of the Pew Center, an independent U.S.-based organization. "These reports identify ways that fast-growing cities like Delhi and Shanghai can meet the demand for high-quality transportation while easing congestion, improving air quality, and protecting the global climate."

The team of experts that produced the Delhi report was led by Ranjan Bose of the Tata Energy Research Institute in New Delhi, and Daniel Sperling of the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California at Davis. The Shanghai team was led by Hongchang Zhou of Tongji University in Shanghai and Daniel Sperling.

The Delhi and Shanghai reports are the first in a series of five examining transport-related greenhouse gas emissions in developing countries. Case studies of Chile and South Africa, and an overview report, will be released later this year. Earlier Pew Center reports examined the electric power sectors in Argentina, Brazil, China, India and the Republic of Korea.

Delhi: Challenges and Opportunities

Delhi's high scooter and motorcycle ownership rates show that demand for personal mobility can be achieved even at low income levels. Per capita and aggregate greenhouse gas emissions are relatively low, but are poised to increase dramatically. The projected increase in two-wheeled vehicles and cars threatens to bring rising respiratory illness, more chronic traffic jams, further disenfranchisement of the poor, and greater obstacles to economic development.

Under the report's "business-as-usual" scenario, transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions could increase fourfold between 2000 and 2020. An aggressive effort to encourage environmentally friendly forms of travel could reduce the projected increase to a doubling. Low-cost, incremental policy options include:

  • Building and maintaining more sidewalks, and bicycle and bus lanes;
  • Replacing inefficient, highly polluting engines in scooters and motorcycles;
  • Improving fuel efficiency of cars; and
  • Improving public transit and expanding charter bus services.

T he authors also discuss more fundamental changes that could have deeper, longer-term impacts, including integrated land-use planning and faster introduction of advanced vehicle and information technologies.

Shanghai: Building on Past Success

Shanghai's transportation sector currently generates extremely low levels of greenhouse gas emissions for a city of its size and affluence. But emissions are expected to soar four- to sevenfold due to the city's efforts to reduce its very high population density and the anticipated increase in automobiles following China's accession to the World Trade Organization. City planners project a quadrupling of the number of cars and trucks in operation by 2020.

Shanghai has already established a highly competent transportation system and large investments are being made in new infrastructure and the coordination of transportation modes. The city is investing in rail and bus transit and "intelligent" transportation technologies. To the extent Shanghai can restrain motorization and emissions, it may serve as a model for other cities in the developing world.
Low-emission policies include:

  • Specialized infrastructure for smaller vehicles and bicycles;
  • Promotion of small cars and clean, efficient motorcycles and scooters;
  • More and better express bus service;
  • Greater use of information and communication technologies; and
  • Cleaner engine technologies in conventional vehicles.

T he full text of both reports is accessible on the Internet at The site also offers information on the science and economics of climate change, potential solutions, and the activities of the Pew Center and its Business Environmental Leadership Council.



The Pew Center was established in May 1998 by The Pew Charitable Trusts, one of the United States' largest philanthropies and an influential voice in efforts to improve the quality of the environment. The Pew Center is an independent, nonprofit, and non-partisan organization dedicated to providing credible information, straight answers and innovative solutions in the effort to address global climate change. The Pew Center is led by Eileen Claussen, the former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs.