Citizens of Medellín, São Paulo and Mexico City will be the first to benefit from a new partnership to speed up transition to zero emission bus fleets in Latin America, which was recently lauded at the Copenhagen P4G Summit.
The Zero Emission Bus Rapid-deployment Accelerator (ZEBRA) will start its work in the three cities, supporting their efforts to plan, finance and deploy electric bus fleets, with positive implications for both air quality and efforts to fight climate change.
At the Summit, Partnering for Green Growth and the Global Goals 2030 (P4G) awarded $900,000 to ZEBRA in a global competition for innovative sustainability solutions that attracted 450 submissions from 80 countries.
“This partnership promises to make the air cleaner for millions of people living and working in some Latin America’s largest cities, reduce greenhouse gas emissions contributing to global warming and provide a valuable roadmap for how cities globally can accelerate the deployment of zero emission buses in ways done in China and committed to in California,” said global director of P4G, Ian de Cruz.
ZEBRA is led by C40 Cities (C40) and the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), which will learn from the work of partners like the World Resources Institute and Centro Mario Molina-Chile, who have been supporting Santiago’s current procurement program for electric buses.
Santiago’s public transport system, Transantiago— renowned for having undertaken ambitious reforms— is rolling out 200 electric buses, with the aim to have over 2,000 such buses on its roads by 2025.
The Inter-American Development Bank will also join as a partner.
“To deliver on the highest goals of the Paris Agreement and keep global temperature rise within safe limits requires bold and urgent action. For example, by 2030 every bus on the streets of the world’s biggest cities must be electric,” said Mark Watts, executive director C40 Cities.
“This award from P4G and the ZEBRA partnership will help ensure that ambition becomes a reality in cities across Latin America,” he said.
There is some way to go— currently, less than 1 percent of municipal buses in Latin America are electric— but momentum is growing for electric vehicles in cities in the region.
ZEBRA’s work includes developing fleet-wide deployment plans for zero emission bus fleets in Mexico City, Medellín, Sao Paulo and Santiago.
“Our goals include new commitments from manufacturers to deploy zero emission buses in Latin America, and a commitment from financing institutions to make 1 billion US dollars in investments in zero emission buses in the region by 2021,” said the ICCT’s Clean Air Program Lead, Ray Minjares.
The transport sector is the largest and fastest-growing source of energy-related emissions in the Latin American region and a significant contributor of the air pollutants that are linked to premature deaths and a long and growing list of disease and other negative impacts on human health and potential.
Banner photo by Secretaría de Movilidad de Medellín/CC BY 2.0