Bali Climate Conference pushes on cleaner vehicles

The UNFCCC (climate change conference) that is currently in progress in Bali has brought up one of the issues mentioned on Baliblog just a couple of days ago, cleaner vehicles. With Bali’s reliance on cars and motorbikes, this is a healthy step. Here’s more form the Jakarta Post.

Govt to adopt UN’s green vehicle mechanism

NUSA DUA (JP): Adapting to the growing demand for eco-friendly cars, the government announced Wednesday it would adopt the United Nations’ global technical regulation on car safety and energy efficiency.

Minister of Transportation, Jusman Syafii Djamal, said Indonesia was anticipating an agreement on the regulation, which is expected to promote environment-friendly vehicles, as part of the Bali roadmap to reduce global gas emission.

“If there is a framework on this issue created as part of the Bali roadmap, we will be committed to it. But in the meantime, we have worked hard to encourage environment-friendly vehicles,” Jusman said on the sidelines of the UN climate conference here.

Separately, Ministry of Industry’s head of standardization and technology Soerjono told a roundtable discussion on climate change that a government-sanctioned team comprising representatives of the industry, transportation, finance and energy ministries are now preparing all the relevant requirements for the adoption of the possible UN regulation.

The UN’s global technical regulation, also known as WP29, is a global arrangement that is aimed at harmonizing or developing technical regulations for improving vehicle safety, protecting the environment, promoting energy efficiency and anti-theft technology.

According to the UN Economic Commission for Europe, the body that first negotiated the agreement, the regulation is soon to be upgraded to include regulations for pedestrian safety and for new technologies such as hydrogen and fuel-cell vehicles.

The current signatories of the agreement include major manufacturers and importers such as the United States, Japan, the European Union, South Korea and China. The regulation is considered global because it is open to any country.

Upon adopting the UN regulation, Soerjono said, vehicles that are not produced in accordance with the regulatory standards could not be exported to countries that signed the agreement.

“For us, this means the standard of cars for exports will be higher. And we have to make a lot of preparations, which may take about a year,” Soerjono said.

The adoption of the WP29, he said, was in line with the industry ministry’s strategy on green vehicle development within the general roadmap for the auto industry’s development.

The green vehicle strategy, which complies with the Environment Ministry’s decree in 2003, includes the adoption of the Euro 2 fuel emission standard, issued in 2003 and to be upgraded to Euro 4 by 2012. The Euro 2 standard limits carbon monoxide level of one gram per kilometer while the Euro 4 restricts the CO content to 0.5 gram per kilometer.

“The strategy would mean that by 2012 all cars in operation in Indonesia must have engines that are compatible with the Euro 4 standard,” he said.

As of 2006, there were about 8.2 million passenger cars, 4.9 million trucks, 2.9 million buses and 38 million motorcycles across the country. The vehicles contributed to more than 10 percent of the country’s total carbon emission production.

Another speaker of the roundtable, deputy environment minister on pollution control, Ridwan Tamin, said the impacts of emission from vehicles were already acute in most big cities in Indonesia.

People in the capital city of Jakarta, for example, enjoyed only 70 days of clean air day throughout a year, according to the Pollution Standard Index 2001-2006.

In the future, Tamrin said, the government mulls imposing stricter measures to fight excessive emission, which may include: tax cuts for environmentally friendly vehicles, limiting car use period, improving public transport infrastructure, expanding the use of biofuel for vehicles and further adjustment on fuel price for public use.

Tamrin said that in terms of implementation, carrying out environmental policies in the country would face tough challenges, especially due to the fact that there is no law that criminalizes air pollution. (Andi Haswidi and Stevie Emilia)

Indonesia has already taken one step towards cleaner air by banning the sale of new 2-stroke motorbikes. The next targets should be trucks, buses, bemos and commercial vehicles, many of which are an environmental nightmare. Picture this scene if you will. Young couple from Japan comes to Bali for their honeymoon. On their first evening in town they take a stroll down to Kuta Beach to enjoy the sunset. As they they walk hand in hand along the footpath a rumble of engines alerts them to the fact that the Denpasar bemos are about to depart. Thirty seconds later they and everyone else along the street are engulfed in a cloud of sooty diesel fumes, that trail the length of Pantai Kuta. Romantic eh? Dirty engines affect locals , expats and tourists alike. It is in all our interests that laws are passed and Bali moves towards cleaner air.