China taking lead in promoting use of clean vehicle technologies: UN official

Xinhua
Chinese companies and government have taken the lead in promoting the use of cleaner vehicle technologies around the world through partnerships with national and city authorities.
Xinhua

Chinese companies and government have taken the lead in promoting the use of cleaner vehicle technologies around the world through partnerships with national and city authorities, a UN Environment Programme official said.

Jane Akumu, program officer in charge of Air Quality and Mobility Unit at the Economic Division of UNEP, said through its work with Chinese authorities, progress is being made locally and regionally to introduce cleaner city transport technologies in Africa.

"We are collaborating with China. China is looking for partnerships on how to implement some of these technologies through awareness creation," Akumu told Xinhua in a recent interview.

"They are willing to transfer these technologies and plants to Africa," she added.

Chinese electrical cars and motorcycle maker TAILG announced recently in Nairobi its plans to donate electric cars and motorcycles to African city authorities to be used in pilot studies ahead of possible introduction of the more technologically efficient vehicles for city transport.

The Chinese firm is presently engaged in efforts to increase the ownership of electric bicycles and other two-wheelers as a strategy to reduce the consumption of oil, which leads to greenhouse gas emissions.

"Air pollution has become a serious problem because of industrialization...if developing countries can use new technologies such as the electric cars to reduce air pollution, we are willing to partner in the pilot projects. These would require government policy support," said Jayson Huang, General Manager at TAILG.

The UN environment officials are also currently in discussions with the Chinese authorities on how to accelerate the production and availability of vehicle sensors to regulate the emissions from fossil fuels used in cars.

According to Akumu, the UNEP is currently encouraging governments to use tax measures to promote the use of clean technologies.

"It would take policies, taxation and standards to achieve these clean technology use. There is also the issue of consumer awareness. How can you encourage these? You do it by making consumers know that a certain product is good. Awareness is quite important," Akumu said.

She said those discussions are focused on how the Chinese manufacturers could engage in producing the vehicle sensor systems to detect carbon emissions from all types of fuels used in cars in developing countries.

These would be mounted on the vehicles to monitor carbon emissions.

"We are partnering with China to see how they can bring these technologies to developing countries. The developed countries are quite ahead in technology; our work is in developing countries," Akumu said.

In Kenya, the Chinese firm has partnered with the County government of Kisumu in western Kenya, to introduce an initial 50 electric motorbikes with plans to introduce other more technology efficient vehicles and street lighting using solar technology to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels, Jayson said.

"The power of success will help us deal with the resistance to technology," said Anyang Nyong'o, Governor of Kisumu who said the county government will benefit from the use of electric bikes. 

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