Civic Forum on Clean Vehicles and Fuels: Opportunities and Challenges

Clean air Fuels

Vehicles are an important source of the air pollutants carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen oxides (NOx), particulate matter (PM), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and greenhouse gases emissions. Many of these pollutants undergo further reactions in the atmosphere, which leads to increased ground level ozone (O3) and smog levels. The aggregate effects on human health and the environment are substantial.

Although India has taken steps to mitigate the damaging effects of vehicular air pollution, the country’s fast-growing vehicle population is overwhelming those actions so far. Further initiatives to tighten new vehicle-emission and fuel-quality standards to catch up to international best practices, and procedural reforms to remove in-use gross emitters from India’s vehicle fleet, are needed to minimize the public health and environmental damage of rapid vehicle population growth.

To raise public awareness and engage policymakers about these issues, the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB), the Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), and the ICCT held a joint workshop on clean and fuel-efficient vehicles on July 2, 2012 in Bangalore.

The one-day workshop kicked off with a welcome address by Dr. R. K. Pachauri. The morning session took the shape of a civic forum, with presentations on the health effects of air pollution, opportunities for clean fuels and vehicles in India, and urban mobility issues. The presentations were followed by a lively question-answer session with the general public. Key questions raised included the continued operation of two-stroke autorickshaws in Bangalore, despite government policy to phase them out over time, and plans to increase the number of autorickshaw permits in the city. These questions and others led to a vibrant discussion on the ever-increasing vehicle population in Bangalore and Karnataka.

The afternoon session was technical in nature. The first part focused on conventional pollutants, with experts discussing sustainable urban mobility and pathways to reduce vehicle emissions in India. The second part switched gears to the topic of vehicle fuel efficiency in India. In both cases, there was discussion on available vehicle technologies, as well as on policy actions India could implement in the near- and long-term.

Presentations from both morning and afternoon sessions are available for download via the list below. For reports in the India press on the meeting, see here and here and here. For further information, e-mail Gaurav Bansal, [email protected].