Including Climate Change Considerations in Latin American Urban Transport Practices and Policy Agendas

Interventions to mitigate climate change in urban environments, such as using cleaner vehicles and fuels, having efficient traffic control, and building mass transit infrastructure, depend on garnering social and political support for policy change.

The World Bank, an international organization, provides loans to support urban transportation infrastructure and operations, and makes grants to address global issues such as climate change. Researcher interviewed World Bank operations staff in Latin America to assess how they align their agency with the policy concerns of clients. They structured their interviews to cover four topics:

  1. The significance of climate change in the interviewees’ work.
  2. Their experiences integrating climate change considerations into projects.
  3. Their experiences working with financial instruments relating to climate change.
  4. The role of transportation and land use planning institutions in the interviewees’ work.

They found that only three of the 41 projects in Latin American explicitly addressed climate change and project members experienced challenges to integrating climate change considerations into transportation projects. In general, lower-income countries resist being part of interventions to solve the problems created by rich countries. Climate change can be at odds with local political goals such as affordable transportation. They conclude that “making carbon emissions analysis a standard evaluation element for all projects, and investing in analytical tools that have multiple applications, may reduce the resistance,” noting that “the World Bank is already headed in this direction.”