The World Bank said that phasing out old public utility vehicles (PUV) may significantly help in reducing emissions in the transport sector. — PHILIPPINE STAR/WALTER BOLLOZOS

GREENHOUSE GAS (GHG) emissions from the land-based transport sector in the Philippines are projected to quadruple by 2050, the World Bank said.

“Economic and population growth along with rapid urbanization has led to an increase in the number of vehicles per capita in the Philippines which will grow fivefold between year 2020 and 2025, from 114.7 per 1,000 people to 672.9 vehicles per 1,000 people,” it said in a background paper.

It noted that vehicle ownership, particularly motorcycles and tricycles, will likely increase as public transport systems remain undeveloped in the country.

“If current motorization continues, greenhouse gas emissions from land transport would more than quadruple from 25 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e) in 2020 to 147 MtCO2e by 2050, growing at an average annual rate of 5.39%,” the World Bank said.

Among land-based transport systems, motorcycles and tricycles will contribute the most to these emissions, with its share increasing to 29.6% in 2050 from 21.2% in 2020.

Light vehicles such as cars, vans, taxis, are expected to contribute 20.9% to these GHG emissions by 2050.

The transport sector accounts for 13% of the Philippines’ greenhouse gas emissions and is the largest source of urban pollution, according to the World Bank.

“Road-based transport contributes the highest share of greenhouse gas emission of about 87.3% of total transport (emissions),” the lender said.

Meanwhile, water-based transport accounted for 8% of emissions, domestic aviation contributed about 5%, and rail for 0.3%.

“The dominance of road-based transportation may well be related to the country’s relatively low levels of other modes of transport including rail and ferry services,” the World Bank said.

In terms of energy consumption, the country’s transport sector accounts for 35% of total consumption, particularly in oil. It also has the second-highest growth rate in final energy consumption.

“The transport sector has been one of the dominant sectors of final energy consumption and is on a fast-growth trajectory. The Philippine transportation sector used 12,735 kilotons of oil equivalent (ktoe) in 2019,” it added.

Due to the sector’s energy consumption and expected increase in emissions, the World Bank said there is a need to employ low-carbon strategies and practices.

“Given the relatively low motorization rate and rapid urbanization at the same time, the country has a good window of opportunity to pursue sustainable low carbon transport development,” it said.

The Philippines is targeting to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 75% in 2030 under its Nationally Determined Contribution as part of its commitment to the Paris Agreement.

The World Bank said that it would be “very challenging” for the Philippines to achieve the target.

“To achieve the target of 75% reduction, the greenhouse gas emission from the transport sector will need to follow a different trajectory by reaching an average of 71% reduction per year,” it said.

“To achieve net-zero emission from land transport by 2050, the Philippines needs to completely decarbonize the sector by converting all land transport to electric vehicles (EVs) and utilizing 100% RE (renewable energy) in power generation, or use of biofuels for non-EVs,” it added.

The multilateral lender recommended that the Philippine government encourage more private sector investments in low-carbon transport initiatives by improving the overall environment for public-private partnerships.

Meanwhile, the World Bank noted that phasing out old public utility vehicles (PUV) may significantly help in reducing emissions in the transport sector.

“Currently, plenty of public utility vehicles as old as 20 years and above are still in operation in the country, resulting in a lower overall fuel economy in the sector,” the lender said. “Thus, implementing a vehicle retirement policy together with improving new vehicle standards can have significant benefits towards emissions reduction.”

The World Bank said that ramping up the electrification of mass transit will also substantially reduce emissions by 2050, especially if “all mass transit fleets are using 100% renewable electricity.”

“Another opportunity is the electrification of the vehicle fleet. The full implementation of the government program requiring 5% electrification of government, commercial and public transport fleets will contribute a 2.4% greenhouse gas emission reduction,” it added.

The transition of public utility vehicles to electric variants would also require $1.5 billion subsidies to achieve cost parity.

“On top of this, the bulk of the necessary investment needed to support this transition would come from the construction and installation of charging stations, which is estimated to cost around $100.2 billion, distributed until 2040. While this is such a huge number as of writing, technology developments and demand uptakes in the next few years can significantly reduce the costs,” the multilateral lender said. — Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson