ZIMBABWE has laid out an ambitious plan to roll out electric public transport by 2040 as the government seeks to cut carbon emissions, a new report has revealed.
The southern African nation has an inefficient public transport system and has largely depended on second-hand cars mainly from Japan.
According to Zimbabwe’s Fourth National Communication to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the country’s net Greenhouse Gases (GHG) emissions are dominated by the agriculture, forestry and other land use (AFOLU) and energy sectors respectively, followed by industrial processes and product use (IPPU), and waste.
The transport sector, according to a new government policy on carbon credit, is a top priority for carbon credit trade. Carbon tax was introduced in 2001 to address emission concerns.
The country needs to invest in electric vehicles and battery charging stations. Increased distances travelled by mass vehicles and the inherent congestion in the traffic in cities, means more burning of fuel and increase the levels of pollution.
“GHG emissions in Zimbabwe are projected to increase across all sectors through 2050. The AFOLU and energy sectors present a huge potential for climate change mitigation in Zimbabwe,” the country’s carbon credit framework for Zimbabwe April 2023 reads.
“Achievement of the country’s mitigation targets is faced with a number of challenges, mainly climate finance and limited access to abatement technologies.
“The following can be considered for carbon trading in this sector: Reduced carbon intensity by shifting away from passenger car use to modern electrical buses and nonmotorised transport (NMT); electric and hydrogen vehicles especially in the mass public transport systems with targeted emissions reduction of gasoline and diesel by 2040.”
Experts say Zimbabwe is vulnerable to climate change shocks and impacts. These include recurrent droughts and mid-season dry spells which have an impact on the agricultural sector and associated livelihoods, as well as the production of hydroelectric power which has impact on all sectors. The country is witnessing more frequent occurrence of tropical cyclones resulting in the loss of lives and destruction of property and infrastructure, hampering economic growth and displacing thousands of people.
A carbon credit is a tradable certificate representing one metric tonne of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent that is either prevented from being emitted into the atmosphere and/or removed from the atmosphere as a result of climate change mitigation actions.
The credits are a financial instrument that are traded and/or banked over a specified period. These are kept in approved public or private registries that are linked to financial systems. Carbon credits are generated through registries and can either be issued by the government, or auctioned off and/or are developed at some benchmark.
The report also shows that the energy sector is currently the second-biggest contributor to total national GHG emissions in Zimbabwe, accounting for 33% of GHG emissions in 2017.
The main source of GHG emissions in the sector is thermal power generation (37.71%), followed by residential (19.08%), road transportation (15.48%) and agriculture (13.84%).
The sector is highly dependent on coal and petroleum products for power generation giving greater scope for investments in cleaner technologies and renewables.