Namibia proposes tougher fuel economy measures to tackle climate change

UN Environment | Nov 5, 2019 at 12:00 AM

In addressing the global climate emergency, all countries have a role to play. Namibia, like many other nations, is working to design and implementing the right policies before it is too late. “If we act now and if we act decisively, further global warming can be limited and this should be our goal,” said Deputy Minister of Mines and Energy in Namibia, Kornelia Shilunga, during the opening of a national stakeholder workshop on fuel economy baseline findings that was held on 30 September 2019.

She spoke of Namibia’s committment to the Paris Agreement where increased energy efficiency, mass transport and carpooling were identified as possible measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transport.

The fuel economy baseline study in Namibia was funded by the FIA Foundation, one of the primary donors to the Global Fuel Economy Initiative which is supporting 100 developing and transitional countries to analyse the fuel economy of their fleet so as to inform policy formulation.

Better fuel economy contributes to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 7.3 target on doubling the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency by 2030. Kondjeni Ntinda of the Namibia Energy Institute who coordinated the baseline survey observed that even though there were slight improvements in the fuel economy of vehicles imported into Namibia over time, there was need for more concerted efforts to attract even more efficient cars into Namibia.

The average fuel economy of light-duty vehicles imported into Namibia in 2018 was 6.7 litres per 100 kilometres, compared to 8.3 litres per 100 kilometres in 2005. Jane Akumu of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) gave some examples of policy support that Namibia could adopt to improve its fuel economy, including fiscal measures and consumer sensitization programmes.

Participants recommended the inclusion of heavy-duty vehicles in the country survey, as well as outreach to the youth since they will play a significant role in mobility in future. Vehicle labeling was identified as a quick win for the country that could be implemented in the short term.

Other recommendations made were regional harmonization of policies and regulations as well as commitment by leaders to promote cleaner vehicles. Participants also noted that even though Namibia had switched to 50 ppm diesel this year (2019), fuel import data showed much better quality at less than 10 ppm. Government was however urged to ensure quality of fuel products in the country was adhered to, as substandard fuels were still finding their way to the market.