Global principles for cleaner vehicles released
Global principles for achieving cleaner, more efficient road vehicles world-wide have been developed by an international group of regulators and industry representatives. Just released by US-based non-profit organisation the Energy foundation, the \"Bellagio memorandum\" is based on discussions held at a meeting last June in Bellagio, Italy.
Responding to priority environmental and health concerns surrounding road vehicles, the expert group identified a total of 43 principles for further action by governments and the fuel and vehicle industries. Non-technical options, such as actions to promote public transport, are not considered, though the group acknowledges that these too will have an important role to play.
Among the top seven \"most specific and urgent calls to action\" is for the world to follow the EU\'s lead and reduce sulphur levels to near-zero levels (10 parts per million) in all fuels except bunker fuel. Under draft proposals currently under debate, this is set to become the legal standard in the EU from 2009 (ED 13/12/01).
The expert group recommends measures to achieve a 25% average reduction in greenhouse gas emissions for new personal passenger vehicles over the next decade - in line with the goal of a voluntary agreement reached in 1998 between the EU and car makers (ED 06/10/98). The Bellagio memorandum also recommends three other mechanisms to cut greenhouse gas emissions: fuel efficiency standards, exhaust greenhouse gas standards and financial incentives.
Other top priorities are an immediate ban on lead in all fuels and a cap on benzene at no more than 1%, together with controls on aromatic content. Emission standards world-wide should be based on the best available technology, the group recommends. Test procedures should reflect real-world operating conditions.
Participants in the meeting included senior regulators from France, Germany, Japan, China and the USA, as well as the EU. Annual evaluations of the principles are planned.
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