Less than 20% of all buses sold globally meet the definition of soot-free, with the vast majority being diesel powered. Older generation diesel technology produces high levels of black carbon emissions, or soot, which are amongst the most dangerous pollutants for public health and a major contributor to climate change.   The cleanest buses today can reduce these emissions by more than 99 percent.

Today, Abidjan, Accra, Addis Ababa, Dar es Salaam, Johannesburg, Lagos and Nairobi were named among the 20 cities chosen by four bus and engine manufacturers as test cities to purchase buses equipped with low emissions technologies, in order to tackle climate change and toxic air pollution.

The African cities will join Bangkok, Bogotá, Buenos Aires, Casablanca, Dhaka, Istanbul, Jakarta, Lima, Manila, Mexico City, Santiago, Sao Paulo, and Sydney which have been named among the 20 to benefit from this technology from BYD, Cummins, Scania and Volvo Buses.

The Soot free technology is defined as including any engine that meets Euro VI norms first established in Europe or EPA 2010 norms first established in the United States, and any diesel engine with a diesel particulate filter, gas-powered engine, or a dedicated electric drive engine. Further reductions in climate impacts of soot-free buses are achievable with low-carbon fuels and engines that deliver the lowest lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions.

The Global Industry Partnership on Soot-Free Clean Bus Fleets is an initiative led by C40 Cities, the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC), and International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), Centro Mario Molina Chile and UN Environment. The commitment was announced at the CCAC Clean Buses for Clean Air Workshop in Paris.

“Air pollution is the leading environmental health risk today affecting millions of people, particularly those in our growing cities. This agreement between some of the world’s leading bus manufacturers and some of the biggest cities in the world is an example of forward thinking private and public cooperation,” said Erik Solheim, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme. “Investment in technology, products, and business models that benefits people and our environment isn’t just good for the planet, it’s good for business.”