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The Time is Now to Make Critical Changes in How We Approach Air Quality Issues

Over the past several months, as we see a surge in record-breaking wildfires, storms, and heatwaves, the case for climate reform is becoming increasingly imperative to make a priority. While the coronavirus becomes part of our everyday lives in this “new normal”, discussions about climate change and air pollution mitigation tactics are beginning to reemerge. These discussions have a strong focus on reducing pollution caused by transportation. Matters that were once put on hold due to the virus, are now making their way back into the limelight. A hot topic (no pun intended) this past month was the term “net-zero” - otherwise known as carbon neutral. The BBC released an incredibly informative article about this concept and how Europe plans for its carbon emissions to reach zero over the next few decades.

As an action toward these goals, European Parliament announced that “[a]s of September 2022, new cars must meet EU limits on NOx emissions under real driving conditions to comply with air pollution limits”. This means the conformity factor that allows for higher emissions under real driving conditions will be phased out. Parliament will now consult with member states to develop a plan moving forward.

Other places around the world are getting on board as well - including the United States and China. California is making preeminent moves to cut emissions by enacting an executive order prohibiting the sale of any new gas-powered vehicles after 2035. This motion is an effort to promote the purchase of electric vehicles (EVs) and lessen the carbon footprint of Californians. This regulation is a progressive leap forward for EVs in the United States. Across the globe in China, the government pledges to reach net-zero by 2060. Currently, China is the world-leading producer of CO2 emissions. According to a Vox article, to reduce their pollution contribution, China would eventually like for all passenger cars and trains to be powered by electricity.

Transportation is a primary player in a net-zero future and contributes to nearly a quarter of the CO2 in the atmosphere. It only seems natural to start tackling the lowest hanging fruit first and make drastic shifts in the transportation sector, but is EV technology ready for that big of a role in today's society?

Issues with vehicles that are already on the road need addressing to begin making significant changes to the fleet now. While giving car companies, cities, and motorists a chance to catch up with cleaner transportation and EV goals, remote sensing can play an integral part in reducing emissions. Immediate change is possible if vehicles that emit excessively in the real-world are proactively identified using on-road technology and repaired.

In September, a study was released by Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI and the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) examining the fuel consumption, electric driving, and CO2 emissions of 100,000 plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV). The study determined that PHEVs emit CO2 two to four times higher in the real-world than in laboratories. The ICCT, Fraunhofer ISI, and Green Congress released reports and fact sheets explaining the findings in greater detail.

It is time to make crucial changes in how emissions are measured and regulated. A continuous monitoring application using EDAR allows cities to create more effective policies and govern in a just manner. The EDAR technology is highly effective and accurate in supplying regions with a powerful regulatory tool and robust data for determining how the vehicle fleet is performing. This real-world emissions application is also successful in identifying cases of fraud. The science behind its measuring capabilities originates from NASA technology, years of innovation, and the experience from seasoned scientists and engineers.


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