Clean air

Clean air

The world's transportation fleet—passenger cars and light trucks, heavy trucks and buses, motorcycles and scooters and three-wheelers, farm tractors and construction equipment, ships and planes—is a massive source of outdoor air pollution, especially in urban areas. The effects of long-term exposure to fine particulates, nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, air toxics and other pollutants contained in vehicle exhaust include lung cancer, heart disease, stroke, asthma, stunted lung growth in children, and other harmful outcomes. And in some cases, as with the black carbon that is a component of particulate emissions, these pollutants also contribute to short-term climate warming.

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About the program

The world's transportation fleet—passenger cars and light trucks, heavy trucks and buses, motorcycles and scooters and three-wheelers, farm tractors and construction equipment, ships and planes—is a massive source of outdoor air pollution, especially in urban areas. The effects of long-term exposure to fine particulates, nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, air toxics and other pollutants contained in vehicle exhaust include lung cancer, heart disease, stroke, asthma, stunted lung growth in children, and other harmful outcomes. And in some cases, as with the black carbon that is a component of particulate emissions, these pollutants also contribute to short-term climate warming.

The Clean Air Program advises governments and civil society organizations on strategies to address the public health and near-term climate impacts of outdoor air pollution from motorized transportation. We develop technical underpinnings for the design and implementation of emission control policies to mitigate those impacts at the international, national, and city scales. These policies can include national vehicle emission standards, fuel-quality standards to limit the sulfur content of diesel and petrol, compliance and enforcement programs to ensure that standards are met in practice, vehicle scrappage and retrofit programs, and other actions like establishment of low-emission zones. And we undertake monitoring and assessment of real-world emissions, air quality, and public health impacts to evaluate progress and guide actions where they are needed most.

State of global air quality: Regional insights from Brazil, China, India, and Mexico

The state of global air quality: Regional insights from Brazil, China, India, and Mexico.

Recent publications

Beyond road vehicles: Survey of zero-emission technology options across the transport sector

Discusses the potential of zero-emission technologies to reduce emissions from non-road transport, including aviation, maritime, off-road, and rail.

2018.07.18 | Working paper
Costs of emission reduction technologies for diesel engines used in non-road vehicles and equipment

Evaluates the costs incurred by manufacturers of diesel engines used in non-road vehicles and equipment for emission reduction technologies needed to comply with increasingly stringent standards.

2018.07.11 | Working paper
Global progress toward soot-free diesel vehicles in 2018

This report assesses progress in 2018 toward implementing the Climate and Clean Air Coalition's global strategy to introduce low-sulfur fuels and cleaner diesel vehicles.

2018.07.02 | Report
See all publications

Staff blog

Put soot-free transport in your NDC

Soot-free transport will deliver black carbon reductions, which can help achieve the near-term cooling needed to meet a 1.5˚ C target. Climate negotiators in Poland this week ought to bring it into their climate action strategies.

Staff