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Mayors of Paris and London Announce Car Scoring System to Slash Air Pollution on City Streets.

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Mayor of Paris and Chair of C40 Cities, Anne Hidalgo and Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, today announced they're working to create schemes to score new cars based on their real-world emissions and their impact on air quality. The schemes will help consumers make better informed choices about the environmental impact of the cars they drive and prevent car manufacturers from exploiting loopholes in existing labelling schemes.

Currently vehicle scoring schemes, such as EU standards, only regulate some pollutants and only require vehicles to meet standards in laboratory conditions. Actual emissions on the road have been proven to be up to 15 times greater. The new schemes will allocate each model of car with a score, based on all of the air pollutants they release during real-world, on-road conditions. The scores will be made easily available to citizens through dedicated websites. Consumers will therefore enjoy a far more accurate understanding of how polluting that car will be when driven on urban streets. Paris and London have committed to launch their data online by the end of 2017.

"For too long, some vehicle manufacturers have been able to hide behind inconsistent regulation and consumer uncertainty about the damage their cars are causing," said Mayor of Paris and Chair of C40 Cities, Anne Hidalgo. "This announcement is a wake-up call to car companies that they need to act now. Citizens of Paris and cities around the world demand clean air to breathe and this new scoring scheme will be key to helping achieve that.  I am pleased that Paris, the city of the Climate Agreement, is working with London and Seoul to support this project."

"My scheme will put an end to the smoke and mirrors that have been employed in official emissions tests. It will provide Londoners with an honest, accurate and independent evaluation of the emissions of most new cars and vans on our roads and on the showroom forecourt. By having 'on the road' testing I believe we will help Londoners make an informed choice and incentivise manufacturers to build cleaner vehicles sooner," said The Mayor of London and C40 Vice-Chair, Sadiq Khan.  "This scheme is also a fantastic example of how big cities around the world can pool their expertise and their influence to encourage big industry to clean up its act. The toxicity of the air in London and many other big cities is an outrage, and schemes of the type we are introducing in London and Paris have the potential to make a massive difference to the quality of the air we all breathe."

To underscore the importance of robust and transparent information on real world emissions, Mayor Hidalgo also announced a commitment from Bloomberg Philanthropies, FIA Foundation and the Joshua and Anita Bekenstein Charitable Fund to enable C40 Cities to work with the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) and Emissions Analytics to measure vehicle emissions with remote sensors and portable emissions monitoring equipment.

"These new vehicle scorings will empower consumers to make informed choices that protect public health and the planet," said Michael R. Bloomberg, C40 President of the Board and U.N. Secretary General's Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change. "This is a great example of how the same steps that improve lives also fuel progress against climate change."

Several other C40 cities, including Seoul, Madrid, Mexico City, Milan, Moscow, Oslo and Tokyo have committed to work with C40 to develop a global scoring system relevant and accessible to all citizens, and will explore how to provide this accurate and transparent information to the public. 

"Tackling vehicle emissions is a priority if you are to tackle air pollution in your city," said Mayor of Seoul and C40 Vice-Chair, Wonsoon Park. "As cities made significant contributions toward the adoption of the Paris Agreement, cities' yet another concerted effort shown today to tackle air pollution, will make air cleaner for our citizens to breathe."

The existing EU labelling scheme only rates vehicles for fuel efficiency and CO2 emissions, and are based on laboratory tests. Recent scandals have shown the potential for these tests to be manipulated by car manufacturers, undermining public confidence in the tests. Research has also shown that current testing schemes conceal the real-world levels of toxic emissions.  Some diesel cars that meet the EU's highest environmental standards, known as Euro 6, in reality release more Nitrogen Oxide and Nitrogen Dioxide than a modern heavy duty truck. These NOx and fine particle pollutants are particularly important, as they are amongst the most damaging to human health.

"The technology exists to accurately measure the precise environmental impact of the gas-guzzlers that currently dominate our roads, and leadership by C40 mayors will enable citizens to see it" said Mark Watts, Executive Director C40. "Once again it is mayors that are showing the way to clean the air that we breathe in our cities and cut the emissions that are poisoning our planet".

The announcement was made following a closed-door meeting between mayors, senior city officials and representatives of several major car manufacturers, designed to find ways to accelerate the transition to low-emission and electric cars. The meeting, was the first ever such effort by city leaders and car manufacturers to work together in planning for a sustainable future.

Mayors from C40 cities have been providing unique global leadership in tackling air pollution, over recent years.  In March 2016, Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris led an initiative of 20 European mayors calling on the European Union to close loopholes that allowed vehicle manufacturers to continue producing cars that release dangerous levels of fine particle emissions. A petition in support of the measure attracted more than 130,000 signatures of citizens.  

In July 2015, Paris was the first city in France to restrict access for the most polluting vehicles. The bans are applied progressively until 2020. Since January 2017, this area is controlled with a colored - Crit'Air- sticker on the vehicles. Financial aid is also offered by the City to help inhabitants and businesses to switch to clean modes of transport.

Mayor Sadiq Khan has proposed introducing the world's first Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in central London in 2019, and then expanding it to inner London for all vehicles, and Londonwide for buses, coaches and lorries. From October 2017, vehicles in central London will need to meet minimum exhaust emission standards, or pay a daily £10 Emissions Surcharge (also known as the T-Charge).

The city of Seoul designated central Seoul as Green Transport Promotion Zone in March 2017 as part of its broad efforts to cut city-wide carbon emissions from transportation by 40% by 2030. Old diesel vehicles and construction equipment are banned from entering this Low Emission Zone, which is expected to cut the city's private vehicle demand by 30%.

 

Sustainable Transport | News published on 30 / 03 / 2017 by Rashmi Nargundkar

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