All energy users and emission sources must share cost effective policies and measures to improve air quality, mitigate climate change and promote fuel economy. As the FIA in its Make Cars Green Declaration has stated, it would be both unfair and ineffective to concentrate policy action on a single sector such as road transport whilst ignoring other sources of toxic or Green House Gas (GHG) emissions. To ensure equitable burden sharing policy measures across all sectors need to be capable of transparent cost comparison.
To achieve further progress in improving air quality, Innovation will play a key role, with efforts needed in promoting new vehicle, fuel and component technologies. Continued investment by industry, in partnership with government, is being made in cost effective low carbon and cleaner automotive technologies across the full range of different vehicle elements, including aerodynamics, combustion efficiency, drive trains, driver information devices, energy recovery and hybrids, rolling resistance and weight.
Governments can help encourage fuel efficient motoring by using urban planning, road infrastructure and network design and transport management to avoid congestion and improve traffic flow. Investment in better design of roads to deal with traffic capacity and the use of environmentally friendly road surfacing can significantly help to reduce both emissions and levels of noise from motor vehicles. Intelligent systems can also significantly contribute to improve efficiency of different modes of transport and the way they work together, so that consumers are given more of a choice.
Fiscal policy can play a key role in reducing vehicle emissions. Unfortunately the tax policies used in many countries only succeed in raising the tax burden and real costs for ordinary motorists, and hit poorer drivers hard. Reducing emissions and toxic pollutants rather than maximising revenue should be the main aim of fuel duties and other motoring taxes. The emphasis should shift from penalising and punishing motorists for using their cars to rewarding the use of cleaner vehicles and encouraging a shift to different means of transport.
Along with fiscal incentives, well targeted consumer information campaigns are an essential means of encouraging greener motoring. Not only will this result in environmentally friendly driving and mobility choices taken by consumers, but consumer pressure will also in turn, pressure manufactures, promoting the development of greener automotive technologies.
renewing vehicle fleet
Vehicle fleets are in need of modernisation world wide. The updating of fleets has had a positive effect on levels of emissions and pollutants. Emissions of emissions of carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen oxide (NOx), hydro carbons (HC) volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and particulate matter (PM) from new passenger cars are dramatically reduced by emission control technologies such as the catalyst and filters.
Today’s cars produce on average 95% less NOx and other pollutants compared to their 1970s counterparts. The growth of the vehicle fleet in highly motorised countries does not have to mean a corresponding increase in toxic emissions and there are instances of improved air quality as a consequence. The major challenge remains in developing countries where urban air quality has a serious impact on public health.
Consumers in their choices for travel and destination, must take into consideration their impact on the environment and where possible reduce their carbon footprint, or offset their emissions. As an industry, the impact that tourism has on the environment should not be overlooked. Tourism activities have a significant impact on levels of Green House Gasses, contributing 5% of global C02 emissions, and have a huge effect on the local environment and ecosystems. As the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has noted, severe weather events as a result of climate change are likely to have a disastrous effect on tourism in affected regions. This not only has an impact on community livelihoods but also affects the wider economy.
In the debate on CO2 emissions from cars, it is clear that regional solutions will not be enough, to solve a global problem. The FIA is pushing for a global benchmark of 140g CO2/Km established at the UNECE. With the global car fleet set to double by 2020 and most of the development will occur in emerging market, a global standard can set a point at which point carbon credits can be traded and will allow policy makers to gain a better understanding of the global fleet to formulate policy accordingly.