Mayors Voices: Mayor of Rio de Janeiro Eduardo Paes on HEBTP

Editor’s Note: Fresh off his participation in the Clinton Global Initiative’s Mid-Year Meeting, where C40 Chair and New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced a C40 Risk Assessment Framework, Mayor Paes discusses Rio’s recent efforts to bring sustainable transport to his city’s streets.

Latin America is flourishing. Rising urbanization, expanding population, and trade growth are all surefire signs of increased prosperity and development across the region. Yet, as we accommodate this growth, we will also be faced with new economic and environmental challenges as our expanding urban areas consume more energy and produce greater carbon emissions.

In a few years, Rio de Janeiro will proudly host two of the most significant sporting events in the world, the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games, putting our city at the center of the world stage and drawing in thousands of visitors who will contribute to our city’s energy consumption and CO2 emissions. Because of this, we made a commitment to improve and develop sustainable mobility in Rio through deployment of new technologies and improvements in network services, fleet management, and new operational techniques.

Rio joined the Hybrid and Electric Bus Test Program, an initiative designed and implemented by the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group in partnership with the Clinton Climate Initiative, and with financial support from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), to help us meet these goals. C40-CCI worked with our local government and regional bus technology companies to successfully test hybrid electric buses throughout the city and assist in developing mechanisms that make sustainable mobility a financially viable reality.

As a C40 city, Rio is proud to continue to lead by example. In 2012, we completed the pilot phase of the project, which will soon expand across Latin America with the goal of incorporating an additional 30,000 buses and reducing CO2 emissions by 10 million tons over the next 10 years. We continue to work with C40-CCI to demonstrate that creating a business case for the introduction of these technologies is possible. As a result of our program’s success, we are showing other cities in the region that hybrid technology is not only an environmentally responsible option, but also a necessary tool for increasing the quality of life and enhancing the overarching strategy of sustainable mobility and functionality in growing cities.