Diesel vehicles will be removed from Paris, Mexico City, Madrid and Athens by 2025, as part of unprecedented effort by mayors to improve the quality of air for their citizens.
These pioneering cities also pledged to incentivise alternative vehicles and promote walking and cycling infrastructure. The market-shifting commitment was made today at the C40 Mayors Summit in Mexico City. Worldwide, 3 million deaths each year are linked to exposure to outdoor air pollution according to WHO, with the vast majority of these deaths occurring in cities.
“Mayors have already stood up to say that the climate change is one of the greatest challenges we face,” said Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris and new Chair of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group. “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.”
Citizens of cities across the world are joining the call for cleaner air through a global petition demanding that vehicle manufacturers lead an air quality transformation. They are urging the companies to stop producing diesel vehicles by 2025 and to support a rapid transition to electric, hydrogen and hybrid vehicles.
“It is no secret that in Mexico City, we grapple with the twin problems of air pollution and traffic,” said Mayor of Mexico City, Miguel Ángel Mancera. “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.”
Pursuing policies that improve air quality – decarbonizing transportation systems and promoting alternative transportation options – also help cities deliver on the ambition of the Paris Agreement.
“The quality of the air that we breathe in our cities is directly linked to tackling climate change,” said Mayor of Madrid Manuela Carmena. “As we reduce the greenhouse gas emissions generated in our cities, our air will become cleaner and our children, our grandparents and our neighbours will be healthier.”
“Our goal is to ultimately remove all cars from the centre of Athens in the years to come,” said Mayor of Athens, Giorgos Kaminis. “I support the bold ambition of the Air Quality Declaration and call on our partners in the national government to implement their commitments based on the international climate action agreements and to join our common effort to clean the air that we breathe.”
Further bolstering the effort of C40 cities to improve air quality, C40 announced a two-year partnership with Johnson & Johnson to promote the health and well-being of urban inhabitants and the environment we all share. Johnson & Johnson will support C40 climate programmes that also have co-benefits for air quality and human health. Through research and education, the partnership will help connect the dots between better climate and air to measurably better health benefits in vulnerable urban areas.
“At Johnson & Johnson, we believe that the health of people and the health of the planet are inextricably linked,” said Paulette Frank, Worldwide Vice President of Environment, Health, Safety & Sustainability, Johnson & Johnson. “We are thrilled to partner with C40 to help Mayors drive action at the intersection of climate, air quality and public health which we believe will unlock positive change at the rate and scale we need to make a real difference in the trajectory of human and planetary health.”
C40 also announced that it was joining with the World Health Organisation and UN Environment’s Climate and Clean Air Coalition, in support of the BreathLife campaign to halve the 6.5 million deaths from air pollution by 2030. The global campaign will support city governments to reduce harmful emissions from the transport, waste and energy sectors, as well as mobilizing citizen action to reduce air pollution while also slowing climate change.
“92 per cent of the world’s population live in places where air pollution levels exceed the WHO safe level for air pollution. Soot from diesel vehicles are amongst the big contributors to ill health and global warming. But we have many solutions that work,” said Helena Molin Valdés, Head of the CCAC. “By working with C40 cities and other partners, we can help cities work together, identify and implement the most effective solutions to rapidly improve air quality and achieve the BreatheLife goal to halve deaths from air pollution by 2030.”
Follow C40 Mayors Summit announcements on social media with #Cities4Climate.