April 19, 2024


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Combating Climate Change through Transportation: Rwanda CAN work the U.S way

Expanding pedestrians or cyclists lines is one of the solutions that will help reduce traffic emissions

By Ange de la Victoire DUSABEMUNGU

Today the whole world is thinking about actions aimed at addressing the effects of climate change.

From Rwanda to overseas, the slogan is the same. Climate change is a problem that threatens the world and its inhabitants.

Scientists believe that the global warming rate has gone so far that without action, Humanity will find itself in a more dangerous situation than the current global challenges including extreme heat, extreme cold, floods, extreme winds, the loss of biodiversity, loss of human life and more.

Aside from the fact that countries like the U.S.A have already made progress in making their citizens live a fair life, however, their industrial development, for instance, is the origin of Ozone layer destruction, Air pollution, etc…and there are other countries that seem to be affected but not the ones that have caused the problem.

In this case, it is important to appreciate where the world is now to agree on a way for dealing with the issue as stated above.

Andrew Wishnia, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Climate Policy at the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Transportation Policy in the U.S. The Department of Transportation, said there is a lot to be considered for the protection of humanity and the protection of the Earth and the U.S is ready to share the expertise with other countries and vice versa.

“If we’re looking at transportation electrification scale, for example, we don’t have to look farther than Norway or the Netherlands or other countries which are doing really impressive EV charging build-out, and also build-out of electric vehicles as well.” Mr. Andrew said

Recently, when some of the solutions to climate change were showcased in Rwanda, it was clear that there are some infrastructures that are being innovated out there that can be used but also, they are fewer than those that need to use them.

Here we can talk about the use of electric cars but still they are expensive and charging stations or battery replacement not available.

When we talk about environmentally friendly transportation, we mean transportation that uses a type of energy other than traditional fuel.

Andrew Wishnia, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Climate Policy at the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Transportation Policy in the U.S. The Department of Transportation

 So, TOP AFRICA NEWS reporter addressed a question to Mr. Andrew Wishnia as in his capacity to respond to how is the U.S. ready to share transportation innovations with developing countries?  For instance, cars are expensive.  How will industry make it easier for customers to buy different types of mobility?

Mr. Andrew said “The United States stands ready to share and socialize sort of best practices from our end, but one thing that I just wanted to convey to the group is we also want to look at success stories, and for that matter, what has worked and what hasn’t across the world so that we can deploy these clean energy opportunities in a way that’s prudent for taxpayers and leverage those resources appropriately.”

Some strategies are simple and easy to emulate

For sure, this would be good news for countries that are still struggling to reach the desired level in dealing with the issue of climate change through for instance the transportation innovations.

However, there are some innovations that the U.S is set to deploy that one can be emulated without waiting for technical support.   

With respect to options outside of cars, one might think of options to reduce trips, which includes active transportation, right. 

From the side of the U.S Government Mr. Andrew is quoted as revealing that the U.S for instance wants to increase opportunities for expanded pedestrian infrastructure, expanded bicycle infrastructure to have what we call in the United States more complete streets so that there’s options for all road users.  

“And by the way, those complete streets have co-benefits of not only being more climate friendly, but most importantly being safer as well, right.  It reduces traffic speeds, and it also provides options for people to be able to go from one place to another more comfortably on a bicycle or by walking.  So those are the kinds of activities that we want to promote.  Again, we’re – we don’t want to force anyone to do anything that they don’t want to do.  We want to provide as many options as possible” Mr. Andrew said.

According to American Jobs Plan which is yet to be approved, the U.S has allocated $50 billion fund for infrastructure projects across the whole-of-government, including at the Department of Transportation, but are also thinking about resilience and adaptation strategies as part of all of the programs.

“We also have a $174 billion fund for transportation electrification.  And really, that’s an effort to stimulate as much transportation electrification scale to meet the moment and to reduce emissions to align with our net zero strategies.” He said.  

“So, we’re absolutely looking for additional investments.” Mr. Andrew noted.  

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