Four cities to ban diesel cars

3rd December 2016 | Commercial Energy

Four of the world’s biggest cities are to ban diesel vehicles from their centres within the next decade. This is a means of tackling air pollution, with campaigners urging other city leaders to follow suit. The mayors of Paris, Madrid, Athens and Mexico City announced plans to take diesel cars and vans off their roads by 20205.

Anne Hidalgo, mayor of Pairs, led the initiative at the C40 conference of mayors on climate change, which took place in Mexico. She said, “Mayors have already stood up to say that climate change is one of the greatest challenges we face. Today, we also stand up to say we no longer tolerate air pollution and the health problems and deaths it causes, particularly for our most vulnerable citizens.

“Soot from diesel vehicles is among the big contributors to ill health and global warming,” added Helena Molin Valdes, head of the United Nations’ climate and clean air coalition. She also noted that nine out of ten people live where air pollution exceeds World Health Organisation safety limits.

Miguel Angel Mancera, mayor of Mexico City, said increasing investments in public transport would also help clean the city’s air, and reduce greenhouse emissions. Giorgios Kaminis, mayor of Athens, said his goals was to remove all cars from the city centre. The city authorities will also work with national governments and manufacturers and promote electric vehicles and cleaner transport.

Recent research has uncovered the scale of the problem, with three million premature deaths a year attributed to dirty air, as well as millions of other illnesses, particularly in children. Green campaigners welcomed the announcement, saying it showed that it was possible to clean up big cities.

Alan Andrews, lawyer at the NGO ClientEarth, whose legal victory has forced a UK government re-think of air pollution plans, said ”This shows political leaders across the world are waking up to the damage diesel is doing to our health. But 2025 is a long time away when you consider the 467,000 premature deaths caused by air pollution in Europe [alone] every year.”

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