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How Low Can Car Emissions Go?

12 Rhagfyr 2007

Delegates at the landmark UN talks on climate change in Bali have been asked to consider research from a University academic on car emissions.

With the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change now in its crucial second week, research carried out by Dr Paul Nieuwenhuis at the ESRC funded Centre for Business Relationships, Accountability, Sustainability and Society (BRASS) has been brought to the attention of delegates.

Dr Nieuwenhuis’ paper calls for manufacturers and designers of tomorrow’s cars to address resource depletion, waste generation, congestion and quality of life. He argues for dramatic reductions in Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions, which Dr Nieuwenhuis believes are possible with current and new technologies.

Dr Nieuwenhuis also calls on countries leading in motor technology – Japan, US and EU – to take a lead in regulation to encourage the industry to find new solutions. This would provide a home market for low carbon technologies, and a competitive advantage to firms pioneering such technologies.

Dr Nieuwenhuis’ paper is featured in a publication called ‘Climate Action’ produced by Sustainable Development International in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Climate Action was launched last week to coincide with the United Nations climate change conference. The publication is being distributed to delegates in Bali and worldwide to Ministers of the Environment, Energy and Transport, those responsible for energy and the environment in Non-Government Organisations, think-tanks, environmental organisations and UN agencies, and to the world’s largest companies by market capitalisation.

The paper is written in the light of the European Union becoming the first major jurisdiction to propose regulation on car CO2 directly, rather than fuel consumption. Dr Nieuwenhuis proposes that meeting the proposed target of 130g/km of CO2 emissions from new cars is technically feasible with certain policy measures to bring this about.

Dr Nieuwenhuis said: "Many cars on sale in the EU already meet the proposed limit. It is also known from suppliers and manufacturers that more CO2 reducing technologies are due to enter the market before the proposed EU deadline of 2012. But current technology can also deliver major improvements in car CO2 emissions in countries such as China. I hope the delegates in Bali will take this on board and agree a way forward towards a more sustainable motor industry."