The effects of climate change are already being felt on a daily basis in population health and extreme weather events. Taking action to reduce these impacts is urgent and present, not just for a few years. Electrification of public transport is one of the immediate measures, followed by what is already a reality in the United States, China, Chile, Colombia and European countries. Now is the time for Brazil to change its urban mobility structure and choose clean transport.
Bus electrification: a good opportunity for the climate and economy
Electric buses combine with the creation of a climate and socially just society, which considers the quality of life of the population. But how can this transition happen in practice? The theme of the panel was “Electric Mobility, Climate, Energy and Economy: Opportunities for Brazil and How to Take Advantage of them”, which took place last Friday, June 24 at the event “Electrification of Public Transport in Brazil”. At the Latin America Memorial in So Paulo.
The topic was chosen because the climate is now at the center of a debate over the urgency of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This was made clear in the latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which demonstrated that the 10-year window is very important for us to act to reduce GHGs. In the case of Brazil, when it comes to taking better care of the planet, the tendency is to only think about keeping the forest standing, but given the increase in emissions due to the transport sector in recent years, it is possible to understand Is. There is a need to add more to this area in decision making. There are many opportunities for this.
For an energy transition to occur, that is, for us to move from fossil fuel-powered vehicles to electric vehicles, it is necessary to mobilize and engage the population in the climate agenda. According to Camila Gramco, economic affairs officer at ECLAC Brazil, a UN-affiliated body, the current model of development that we are experiencing is not sustainable.
“It starts with a matrix that is not economically dynamic. Even before the pandemic, unemployment was already high, poverty was already on the rise, as well as inequality. Natural wealth with deforestation Not to mention the environmental issue with the increasing losses of fossil fuels and the increasing use of fossil fuels, especially in the transport sector”, he explains.
Before the pandemic, Brazil already had some potential for socioeconomic development and today the scenario is deteriorating, with the economic sector trying to recover. People feel this deficit in their daily lives, and this is reflected in the high unemployment rate and the increase in the number of families living below the poverty line. There is an urgent need to mobilize huge amount of investment for various sectors.
A development, transportation and energy model cannot be changed without investment. Electromobility is an important part of enabling a low-carbon, sustainable and inclusive economy.
Investing in the green economy sector brings other benefits. According to the study “Electric Bus Supply in Brazil in a Low Carbon Economic Recovery Scenario” published by ECLAC in April 2022, for every job generated directly in the electric bus sector, 21 jobs will be created in the economy. This is the multiplier power of these transformative and sustainable investments.
For Walter de Simone, director of the Talanoa Institute, more discussion about climate in a social context is needed to bring this topic closer to as many people as possible.
“Looking at the future, three things matter to us: urban transport, basic sanitation and job creation. We need to start talking about people’s problems in these contexts and identify what people’s concerns are. We, Those who are aware of climate factors, need to make a connection with this person’s experience”, defended Walter.
Camila Gramco also pointed out that there was a flaw in the economists’ narrative for building a climate solution. Cost quantification methods for climate change mitigation need to be corrected, as previous climate action reports had a net cost to the economy, with decision makers not choosing to bear these costs. Facing a global climate disaster that is already happening should not be seen as a net cost, as the choice not to face it is too bad. The way to change this narrative is to correct these cost quantification methods and understand that protecting the environment is synonymous with socioeconomic development.”
However, Brazil will not get where it wants to go in electrifying transport if it does not have public policies in place. A structural state policy, whether industrial, commercial or regional, has to treat electrification as a pivot, as a precondition for future decisions. It is necessary to restructure the major structural policies that already exist in the country, but which do not communicate with the climate goals today.
The socio-economic benefits that electric public transport can bring can be realized only when the country has productive, technological and innovative capabilities, increased income and employment. And Brazil has the potential.
The National Electric Mobility Platform (PNME) and the TUMI e-bus mission organized the “Electrification of Public Transport in Brazil” program to effectively highlight the relevance of public transport, including the topic of electrification, in the context of current climate and economic discussions. and giving the general population more space to engage in the debate on how to make sustainable urban mobility viable, including aspects such as quality of life and urban well-being. The event was organized as part of Urban Mobility Park (PMU). It is possible to view lectures and interviews that took place at the event on the event’s website.
Aiming to bring together all those involved in this transformation, PNME also leads the Via Elettrica campaign, an initiative that brings together many actors in the quest to electrify urban mass transport, buses. They are the networks, companies, governments and organizations that work to promote the energy transition into mobility of cities and, for this reason, have generated knowledge and fostered linkages between stakeholders to make this immediate transition possible. .