Global Strategy for Cleaner Fuels and Vehicles

The Initiative’s objective is to virtually eliminate fine particle and black carbon emissions from new and existing heavy-duty diesel vehicles and engines through the introduction of low sulfur fuels, and vehicle emission standards by 2030.

The goal of the Global Strategy is for most countries to achieve 50-ppm sulfur fuels by 2020, all countries to reach this level by 2025 and most countries to reach 10-ppm fuels by 2030.

The environmental and health benefits of cleaner fuels and vehicles are substantial, eliminating an expected 14 million metric tons of PM cumulatively through 2050 and up to 500,000 fewer premature deaths a year in 2050.


In 2016, the Heavy-duty Diesel Vehicles and Engines Initiative of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition released “A Global Strategy to Introduce Low-sulfur Fuels and Cleaner Diesel Vehicles” (Global Strategy), the first clear and pragmatic roadmap for transitioning all countries to low sulfur and ultra-low sulfur diesel and advanced vehicle emission standards by 2030. At the CCAC December 2016 High Level Assembly, 36 countries recognized and fully endorsed the Global Sulfur Strategy’s approach and targets:

Partners and Signatories

38 Countries: Australia, Bangladesh, Benin, Canada, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, Colombia, Cote d’Ivoire, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Finland, Germany, Guinea, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Luxembourg, Mali, Mexico, Moldova, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Rwanda, Sweden, Switzerland, Togo, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay

Relevance to advance the Paris Agreement goals

Pairing low sulfur diesel fuel with the right emission control technologies leads to reductions in black carbon as well as other climate pollutants (Bond et al., 2013). Euro VI-equivalent emissions standards that require particulate filters (i.e. filter-forcing standards) are the most effective option for controlling diesel black carbon, reducing PM2.5 emissions by up to 99% and black carbon by over 99%. Euro 4/IV standards also lead to reductions in black carbon emissions of up to 90% by forcing improvements in combustion technology; but, in general, vehicles meeting Euro 4/IV equivalent standards are not equipped with particulate filters and so deliver lower emission reductions than engines meeting a filter-forcing standard. An additional benefit of the introduction of more modern vehicles through the application of filter-forcing standards, with cleaner and more efficient engine technologies, is that these modern vehicles are generally more fuel-efficient (because of the parallel implementation of fuel economy standards) and thus the CO2 emissions of these vehicles are often also reduced.

A move to more stringent standards for diesel fuel and vehicles would reduce cumulative emissions of diesel black carbon by an estimated 7.1 million metric tons through the year 2050.

When the climate impact is assessed over a 100-year time horizon, these black carbon reductions amount to the equivalent of 6.0 billion metric tons of CO2; over a 20-year time horizon, the CO2-equivalent is 23 billion metric tons. Accounting for concurrent reductions in other short-lived climate pollutants, the implementation of stringent standards would save the equivalent of 5.5 billion metric tons of CO2 over a 100-year time horizon, or 22 billion metric tons of CO2-equivalent over a 20-year time horizon. Desulfurization also requires additional energy expenditures at the refinery, increasing refinery emissions. In the absence of further decarbonization of refinery energy supply, we estimate that cumulative refinery emissions associated with this global desulfurization could be up to 1 billion metric tons of CO2. This leaves a net benefit on a 100-year time horizon of at least 4.5 billion metric tons of CO2 equivalent.

Activities of the Initiative

Outreach and coalition building:

Capacity building:

Knowledge development:

Policy-making and implementation:

The initiative works directly with sub-regional and national partners through cooperation agreements to develop and implement clean fuel and vehicle emissions standards. Recent examples include:

Monitoring and reporting

The HDDI develops new data and tools to both motivate and demonstrate progress towards deployment of soot-free diesel engines. Activities include annual reporting on global progress as well as visibility of the Global Strategy to address clean diesels worldwide.

Focal Point

Denise Sioson (, United Nations Environment Programme