Four major world cities, Paris, Mexico City, Madrid and Athens, have pledged to ban diesel vehicles from their streets by 2025.
Mayors of these four cities made the commitment at the end of last week in Mexico City at the biennial C40 Mayors Summit.
The cities have not stated how they plan to implement or enforce the ban. Nor was it clear whether delivery and public transport vehicles would be included in the measures.
In addition to banning diesel vehicles, the four cities agreed to "incentivise alternative vehicles, and promote walking and cycling infrastructure".
In announcing the commitment, Anne Hidalgo, Paris' mayor and chair of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, said: "Today, we also stand up to say we no longer tolerate air pollution and the health problems and deaths it causes — particularly for our most vulnerable citizens.
"Big problems like air pollution require bold action, and we call on car and bus manufacturers to join us.”
Above: Mexico City by Derek Fung.
Mayor of Mexico City, Miguel Ángel Mancera, stated: "It is no secret that in Mexico City, we grapple with the twin problems of air pollution and traffic.
"By expanding alternative transportation options like our Bus Rapid Transport and subway systems, while also investing in cycling infrastructure, we are working to ease congestion in our roadways and our lungs.”
Governments, especially those in Europe, have accelerated the adoption of diesel engines in passenger vehicles through favourable taxation regimes. These policies were initially enacted to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, one of the key drivers of climate change and global warming.
Diesel engines, though, emit greater quantities of particulate matter and oxides of nitrogen (NOx). These substances can cause respiratory problems, are especially harmful to the health of children and the elderly, and could lead to premature death.
Two Australian cities, Sydney and Melbourne, are part of the C40 Cities group.
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