The International Council on Clean Transportation is the leading global organisation offering independent technical and scientific advice to regulators to improve public health and mitigate climate change from the transportation sector.

A particular focus is the contribution of dirty vehicles in urban areas to the ongoing air pollution crisis in European cities such as London and Paris. The ‘Dieselgate’ scandal, which ICCT helped uncover, was a wake-up call that government compliance and enforcement programs are inadequate. Our response to it will be the true test of our commitment to protecting our people from avoidable harm.

This will require new technologies, new policy approaches and better consumer information, all of which are currently dependent on laboratory tested emission levels from vehicles which, as ‘Dieselgate’ showed, bear very little relation to what those vehicles are actually emitting on the road. In fact, real-world exhaust emissions from modern diesel cars – particularly in Europe - are many times higher under real-world conditions than under laboratory testing. In some cases, levels of nitrogen dioxide are 15 to 40 times higher. This failure – which is in large part due to car manufacturers deliberately cheating on tests – is costing lives, an estimated 28,000 in the EU alone in 2015. There is a way through this situation. The regulatory regime in the US already includes rules designed to prevent cheating or ‘defeat devices’. The technology also already exists to create clean, ultra-low emission vehicles. It is down to consumers, producers and policy makers to work together to force change in this area. This needs to happen urgently.

I am proud that the ICCT is part of The Real Urban Emissions (TRUE) initiative which aims to independently monitor and report real-world vehicle emissions in cities. The initiative whose secretariat is at FIA Foundation in London is already working with C40 and the Mayors of London and Paris to measure real world emissions in their cities. The work, which will begin in London this year, is an essential under-pinning to the sort of policy framework which we so desperately need in order to clean up the air our children are breathing.

Drew Kodjak
Executive Director
International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT)