Diesel vehicles to be withdrawn from major city streets

2 Dec 16

The mayors of four major capital cities have committed to taking all diesel-powered vehicles off their streets by 2025.


Citizens in Athens, Paris, Madrid and Mexico City will see the most polluting vehicles phased out in their cities and campaigners are calling for more to follow suit.

Anne Hidalgo, mayor of Paris and the chair of a group of megacities fighting climate change, said today the mayors have stood up to say they “no longer tolerate air pollution and the health problems and death it causes”.

“Big problems like air pollution require bold action, and we call on car and bus manufacturers to join us,” she added.

According to the World Health Organisation, three million deaths worldwide are linked to outdoor air pollution every year, with the vast majority occurring in cities. It is linked to health conditions including stroke, heart disease, lung cancer and a range of chronic and acute respiratory diseases, and even poor mental health in children.

Modern diesel cars have been found to pump out several times more pollutants than a bus or heavy truck, with nitrogen oxides (NOx) being their biggest emission. NOx pollution is thought to kill 23,500 people per year in the UK alone. 

Under today’s Air Quality Declaration, the four cities will also work to incentivise green transport alternatives like walking and cycling, as well as promote the necessary infrastructure.

Giorgos Kaminis, mayor of Athens, said the ultimate goal is to remove all cars from the centre of the Greek capital in the years to come.

He called on the mayors’ national governments to implement their climate change commitments and join the “common effort to clean the air that we breathe”.

The declaration was announced during a summit of environmentally conscious mayors currently underway in Mexico City.

Participating mayors, from thousands of cities all over the world, have voiced their commitment to lead the charge on climate change, as the nascent leadership shown on a national level in countries like the US threatens to fade away under the new president-elect Donald Trump.

Cities around the world already account for more than 70% of global energy-related greenhouse gas emissions, and with rapid urbanisation under way that figure is set to rise further.

This means cities are the epicentre of both climate change problems and solutions – a fact the world’s mayors have recognised and are acting upon.

“The quality of the air we breathe in our cities is directly linked to tackling climate change,” said Madrid mayor Manuela Carmena.

“As we reduce the greenhouse gas emissions generated in our cities, out air will become cleaner and our children, our grandparents and our neighbours will be healthier.”

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