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How to have vehicles emit less carbon dioxide Print E-mail
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Thursday, 15 February 2018 00:00

Representatives from various Government and Non-Governmental Organizations along with the Private Sector met on Monday at the Agricultural Building Conference Room in Belmopan (Showgrounds)  to discuss the findings of a study to establish a fuel economy baseline for light-duty vehicles (1,700 pounds or less) that entered the market in Belize over the past four years.

According to the U.S based Environmental Protection agency, the majority of green house gas emissions from transportation are carbon dioxide emissions, resulting from the combustion of petroleum-based products like gasoline in internal combustion engines. A large source of these green house gas emissions come from light duty trucks and other vehicles. In terms of climate change, the Belizean transport sector uses some 46% of the energy used in Belize.

Carbon dioxide emissions are the main components when examining the status of fuel efficiency vehicles. Carbon dioxide itself is a colourless gas having a sharp odour and a sour taste. The presence of gas in the atmosphere keeps some of the radiant energy received by the Earth from being returned to space, thus producing the so called green house effect. Belizean vehicles produce on average 330 grams of carbon dioxide, while those in the developed countries, 170 grams says Belize Ministry of Energy experts.

The global increase of the vehicle fleet in the coming decades, especially in developing economies, will have a monumental impact on health, the environment, and the climate. The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that fuel consumption and CO2 emissions from cars will double between the years 2000 and 2050. As a result, the “Cleaner and More Efficient Fuels and Vehicles in Belize” project was developed within the framework of two global programs, the Partnership for Fuels and Clean Vehicles (PFCV) and the Global Fuel Economy Initiative (GFEI).

The project is being implemented by the Ministry of Public Service, Energy and Public Utilities in cooperation with United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and with the assistance of technical partners: GFEI, Fundación Centro de Gestión Tecnológica e Informática Industrial (CEGESTI) and Centro Mario Molina Chile (CMMCh).

The process of determining trends in fuel efficiency and CO2 emission standards begins with the compilation and synthesis of Belize’s vehicle inventory. The research hopes to facilitate policy discussions by providing a scientifically-sound assessment of the fuel economy of light-duty vehicles. The results of this study seek to promote the efficiency of vehicles in fuel consumption as a contribution to climate change, energy security and sustainable mobility in Belize.

Some of the stakeholders that were present for  “Presentation of the baseline results of carbon dioxide emissions and fuel efficiency for vehicles registered in Belize in the years 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016”  included Caribbean Motors, Bravo Motors and fuel importers.

The preparation of a first diagnosis of trends in the performance and emissions of the national automotive market in Belize will provide decision-makers with a good understanding of the starting point of Belize’s fuel economy, allowing legislators to choose the right combination of technology and political instruments necessary to achieve national objectives in the field of emissions, energy security and efficiency in Belize.

One reason for our noticeable carbon footprint says Energy Officer Geon Hanson is that some of Belize’s vehicle fleets date back to 1958. According to Hanson, vehicles could be taxed depending on the type of emissions. Key policies now being considered in other countries include fuel economy standards and vehicle taxes differentiated on basis of carbon dioxide emissions per kilometre covered. On the technology side, improving fuel economy will require weight reduction, lower rolling resistance tyres and improving aerodynamics. It will be much harder to set those standards given that Belize has no fuel quality standards and there is no fuel testing in terms of the quality in the Country says Geon Hanson.

The fuel economy summit in Belmopan on Monday was a starting point in setting a base line on how to improve the economy of Belizean vehicles. In the long term it may also contribute to less carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that is now contributing to higher temperatures and rise in global sea levels.