Kenyan motorcycles hinder carbon reduction efforts
Publish date: 08 January 2019
Issue Number: 587
Diary: Legalbrief Environmental
Nairobi’s reliance on motorcycles is hindering efforts to reduce carbon emissions, as manufacturers struggle to adapt to clean energy technology. But a new solar-powered three-wheeler could help clean up the city’s act. A Mail & Guardian Online report notes that, according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, more than 190 000 new motorcycles and three-wheeled vehicles were registered in 2017, compared to approximately 66 000 cars. This trend has continued into 2018, with 108 000 motorcycles and three-wheelers registered since January against just 38 000 cars. What’s worrying is the fact that these motorcycles – which are increasing in demand thanks to a growing young population in search of employment – produce more carbon emissions than cars. A baseline survey on electric mobility in Kenya conducted by the University of Nairobi reveals a steep rise in cumulative emissions from two and three-wheeled vehicles between 2005 and 2017. ‘Cars are getting more efficient because of vehicle emission technologies, while motorcycles are not,’ said David Rubia, an air quality and mobility programme officer at the UN Environment Programme. Kenya has committed to reducing its carbon emissions by at least 30% by 2030. In order to meet this commitment, Rubia said 20% of Kenya’s motorcycles must be electric-powered by this deadline.