Vehicular carbon emissions in Bhutan could triple by 2030

01 February 2018 3 min. read

Transport and climate specialists grütter consulting have warned of the worsening state of air pollution in Bhutan, cautioning that without intervention the problem will become critical.

As the National Environment Commission (NEC) of Bhutan prepares its final roadmap for reducing emissions from the state’s transport sector, Jürg Grütter, the CEO of grütter consulting, a Swiss-based firm which focuses on the transport sector and carbon finance, has projected that vehicle emissions in the Kingdom will triple by 2030 if remedial action isn’t taken.

As it stands, the country’s emissions have already crossed health guidelines as set out by both the World Health Organisation and European Union. In a report from 2016, the concentration of PM10 particles – those of a large diameter which can severely impact health through exposure – measured in the capital Thimphu had already exceeded EU thresh-holds and more than doubled limits recommended by the WHO.

Vehicular carbon emissions in Bhutan could triple by 2030

In addition to proposed policy measures relating to improved fuel standards and restrictions on smaller diesel imports, recommendations being considered to redress the escalating issue include the promotion of zero- and low-emission taxis, buses and urban trucking. Currently, commercial vehicles, representing 20% of the country’s fleet, account for over two thirds of greenhouse gas emissions according to the guiding strategy report from grütter consulting.

In his cautionary note on the potential for emissions to triple in barely more than the coming decade, Grütter said, “Once polluting vehicles are on the road, it is very costly and difficult to remove them. Early action for a clean vehicle fleet is, therefore, important.” The firm is, however, optimistic. The report, compiled for the Asia Development Bank as a supporter of the emissions reduction project, outlines the favourable conditions for successful implementation;

“Overall Bhutan is very well posed for a low carbon vehicle strategy. It is one of few countries with a 0-emission grid based on renewables, has a very pro-active government with a focus on sustainable development, protection of environmental resources and low carbon emissions, and has small urban centres with short distances and relatively small units favouring electric mobility”.

Carbon finance and transport

Founded in Switzerland in 1996 by Jürg Grütter, (who is a member of the Technology Executive Committee of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change), grütter consulting describes itself as “the world’s leading firm in relating carbon finance with transport,” and has developed a variety of innovative transport methodologies and international projects in the policy, programme and production domains to combat vehicular carbon emissions.

In addition to its broader international presence, the consulting firm has Asian-region branch or partner offices in China, India, Korea, Laos, and Vietnam, and counts among its clients the World Bank and Asian Development Bank, several UN agencies, state transport authorities and government development agencies such the German and French GIF and ADF, and numerous public corporations and private companies within the international freight and passenger transport sector.

Elsewhere in Asia, the Asian Development Bank earlier this month commissioned Ricardo Energy and Environment to carry out air quality studies in three Chinese cities to support environmental planning, while the Malaysian environmental consulting firm ERE was awarded the contract to conduct a social impact assessment for the high-speed rail project connecting Kuala Lumpur with Singapore.