Extending the vehicle emissions and fuel-quality standards already in force in the largest vehicle markets throughout the rest of the world could reduce the number of premature deaths caused annually by vehicle fine particle emissions by 75% in 2030. Additionally, doing so would have the added benefit of reducing near-term climate impacts through reductions in black carbon and other short-lived climate pollutants, to the equivalent of 710 million metric tons of CO2 annually.
- Applicable to both passenger and freight transport, with the latter dominant due to proportionally greater air quality impacts from freight vehicles.
- Action primarily focused on road transport (including both freight and passenger modes), but has potential correlates in rail, aviation and maritime.
- Extending the vehicle emissions and fuel-quality standards already in force could reduce near-term climate impacts through reductions in black carbon and other short-lived climate pollutants to the equivalent of 710 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) annually. Fast action to reduce short-lived climate pollutants has the potential to slow down the warming expected by 2050 by as much as 0.5°C.
- Extending the vehicle emissions and fuel-quality standards already in force in the largest vehicle markets throughout the rest of the world could reduce the number of premature deaths caused annually by vehicle fine particle emissions by 75% in 2030. Fast action to reduce short-lived climate pollutants has the potential to prevent over two million premature deaths each year and avoid annual crop losses of over 30 million tons.
Status of deployment:
Historically, technical interventions to control diesel black carbon emissions in developed countries have relied on fuel quality improvements and vehicle emissions standards. Black carbon emissions are projected to decline due to policies implemented in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Japan; however, global emissions are projected to increase in the next decade as vehicle activity increases, particularly in East and South Asia.
- The World Health Organization (WHO) has estimated that in 2012 around 7 million people died as a result of air pollution exposure. This finding more than doubles previous estimates and confirms that air pollution is now the world’s largest single environmental health risk. Reducing air pollution could save millions of lives. A recent analysis has also shown that if all regions accelerated their progress toward fuel quality and vehicle emission standards best practice policies, global emissions of health-related pollutants and short-lived climate pollutants could be cut by three-quarters below 2000 levels even with a 150% increase in vehicle activity.
- With science indicating that one kilogram of black carbon causes as much climate impact in the near term as 3,200 kilograms of CO2, diesel vehicles in particular are now a prime target for policies aimed at controlling black carbon emissions. For example, in the global high shift scenario, in which governments significantly increase infrastructure and investments on high quality public transit, walking, and bicycling, the future growth in vehicle activity could still produce a four-fold increase in associated early deaths from urban traffic related air pollution by 2050. However, about 1.4 million early deaths could be avoided annually by 2050 if countries commit to a global policy roadmap that requires the strongest vehicle pollution controls and ultra low-sulfur fuels. Cleaner buses alone would account for 20% of these benefits.
- In Tokyo, more stringent particulate matter (PM) emissions standards caused PM10 levels to drop from 50Mg/m3 in the early 1990s to 23 Mg/m3 in 2009. Under the GFEI, Mauritius implemented measures to bring down diesel with a sulfur content of 5000 ppm to less than 50 ppm, and introduced unleaded petrol in September 2002.