The Climate and Clean Air Coalition’s (CCAC) annual ministerial meeting launched an initiative to mobilize the partnership and “move the needle” on achieving clean air across the world. With the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), CCAC issued a report that explores ways to reduce the harmful impacts of used heavy-duty vehicle (HDV) on people’s health and the climate.

The Clean Air Flagship aims to: save lives by supporting governments to achieve cleaner air as quickly as possible; slow climate change by taking advantage of win-win opportunities to reduce the emissions of short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) and other harmful pollutants; and maximize co-benefits by boosting agricultural productivity, economic development, and the overall quality of life.

To support these efforts, CCAC will:

  • Amplify regional and multi-level governance, cooperation, and capacity on integrated climate and air quality management;
  • Strengthen science communication to support policy action through integrated inventories, monitoring, and air pollution modeling, and fill critical information gaps, including on the economic cost and benefits of climate and clean air action;
  • Highlight readily available solutions, provide capacity support for data and implementation, and reinvigorate the BreatheLife Network;
  • Promote transparency to encourage private sector action on integrated climate and air quality management; and
  • Mobilize finance for the air quality agenda by raising USD 30 million to 40 million through a Clean Air Sprint.

A Clean Air Task Team of all interested partners to guide the Flagship will convene immediately in 2024. The Flagship’s other 2024 activities include the launch of a knowledge platform for air quality managers and the convening of a series of ministerials, including a Joint Climate and Health Ministerial on the margins of the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Conference on Air Pollution and Health in October.

The report titled, ‘Used Heavy-duty Vehicles and the Environment: A Global Overview of Used Heavy-Duty Vehicles: Flow, Scale and Regulation,’ was launched on 22 February. It represents “the first attempt to quantify and qualify used heavy-duty vehicles globally.” The report warns that HDVs are a major contributor to air pollution, road accidents, high fuel consumption, and carbon dioxide (CO2) and black carbon emissions.

According to the report, of the 6.3 million HDVs sold globally in 2015, 3.4 million units were new, with used HDVs accounting for nearly half of the total sales. About 60% of the total new and used HDVs export market share collectively belongs to Japan, the EU, and the Republic of Korea. The report further finds that “[o]ne-third of the total global used HDVs is absorbed within the EU, 20% is exported to Africa, [and] another 20% to Asia-Pacific,” with the remainder sold to the other regions. However, the report notes, most countries do not adequately regulate import of used HDVs, and not all countries that do have used HDV standards implement them.

Among other recommendations, the report calls for:

  • Promoting the introduction of minimum quality standards of used HDVs;
  • Exporting and importing countries to share the responsibility to improve and regulate the quality of used HDVs; and
  • The implementation of existing regional harmonized standards and introduction of such standards where they are lacking.

A UNEP press release notes that the report has limitations. These include discrepancies in statistics, and lacking publicly available data from the US, which does not separate exports of new and used vehicles, from and China, an emerging exporter.

The CCAC Ministerial Meeting convened on the sidelines of the sixth session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-6) in Nairobi, Kenya. It took place from 21-23 February 2024. Delegates discussed progress on scaling up financing and implementing effective policies to reduce emissions of short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) as well as ways to scale up implementation of country commitments to reducing emissions through the Global Methane Pledge and the Kigali Amendment through transformative action across key sectors. [Climate and Clean Air Conference 2024] [UNEP Press Release on the Launch of Clean Air Flagship] [Publication: Used Heavy-duty Vehicles and the Environment: A Global Overview of Used Heavy-Duty Vehicles: Flow, Scale and Regulation] [Publication Landing Page] [UNEP Press Release on Used HDVs Report]