30th March 2016
Transportation is something that we all do every day, for a good chunk of the day -commuting to and from work, running errands, visiting friends and family. How our transport systems are designed affects each and every one of us, which is why good transportation options that benefit everyone and meet today and tomorrow's needs are essential for our health, wellbeing and our economy.
One of the great needs of our time is addressing climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emission. Addressing how we view transportation is an opportunity to mitigate climate change while improving our day-to-day commutes.
In 2014, Antigua and Barbuda imported about 192,788 tonnes of oil equivalent, and nearly one third of this - 60,000 tonnes - went to the transport sector alone (one tonne is 2,200 pounds or about one hippotamus). Fossil fuel in the form of gasoline or petrol is a non-renewable resource, and when a vehicle uses fossil fuel it converts it into potent greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide nitrogen and particulate matter, which are bad for people's health.
Luckily, the world is moving towards green technology solutions - like electric and hybrid vehicles - and these are becoming available and affordable for Antiguans and Barbudans.
"The Government of Antigua and Barbuda is implementing policy to address the issue of transportation and climate change; and the Department of Environment is excited to be a demonstration of how this works," said Diann Black-Layne, Director of Environment.
"We have recently invested in a hybrid vehicle and our intention is to ensure that our fleet of vehicles at the Department are a combination of hybrids and electric cars," she continued.
Hybrid vehicles use some gasoline, but are also augmented by electrical power. The electric vehicles that the Department will use will be powered by solar energy. Powering electric cars with renewable energy (e.g. solar or wind) is important because using fossil fuel power generators for electricity just transfers those emissions to another source instead of removing it from the atmosphere. Walking or cycling instead of driving a gas or diesel car also reduces emissions and has great health benefits and although the Department encourages this, vehicle transportation is the preferred choice of Citizens.
The Department of Environment's initiative comes on the heels of the recently concluded Climate Change talks in Paris (COP21), where countries, including Antigua and Barbuda, identified their climate change goals and committed to a world with a long-term goal of net zero emissions by the middle of the 21st century.
Antigua and Barbuda Submitted an INDC to the Climate Change Convention and within this document committed to making significant emissions reduction over the next ten years. The purchase of energy efficient vehicles is one such way to meet this commitment.
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Tel: (268) 464-8026