Toxic diesel pollution has a devastating impact on public health and exacerbates climate change. Over 525 organizations from coast-to-coast are taking action and have endorsed the “Diesel Clean-Up Campaign Platform” in an effort to improve public health and the environment by reducing diesel emissions.
Check out this video by our campaign partners, Group Against Smog and Pollution (GASP) in Pittsburgh, PA. Teenaged campers speak out in support of proposed local diesel clean-up legislation.
Fine particle pollution produced by diesel engines causes 21,000 deaths a year, according to a 2005 report by the Clean Air Task Force, Diesel and Health in America: The Lingering Threat. Diesel engines are known for their durability, but older engines emit a toxic mixture of particles, metals, and gases, including over 40 “hazardous air pollutants” as classified by EPA. The Clean Air Task Force's report "No Escape from Diesel Exhaust" documents how people are exposed to diesel exhaust every day. Nationally, diesel exhaust poses 3 times the lung cancer risk of all other air toxics in EPA's latest NATA assessment combined. Estimates show that for every dollar spent on reducing PM pollution from diesel engines, $12 would be avoided in monetized health damages. To learn more about the health impacts of diesel pollution, go to our Health Page.
As a warming pollutant, black carbon in diesel pollution is about 2000 times more potent than CO2. Diesels account for over half of the U.S. black carbon emissions. Reducing black carbon emissions from old diesels is one of the few actions we can take to achieve near term climate benefits, which complement efforts to reduce CO2 emissions. To learn more about the climate impacts of diesel pollution, go to our Climate Page.
POLLUTION SOLUTIONS AND JOBS
Although there are clean diesel regulations for new engines, there are 11 million old, dirty diesels in the U.S. that may be in use for decades to come. The good news is that retrofits available today can nearly eliminate diesel particulate matter (PM) and black carbon emissions, positively impacting public health and the climate. To learn more about diesel clean-up technology, go to our Technology Page. In addition, Keybridge Associates estimates that for every $1 billion invested in clean diesel technology, 19,000 jobs would be saved or created. To learn more about the job benefits of diesel clean-up, go to our Jobs Page.
Governments must act now to implement local, state, federal and international pollution control measures to reduce diesel pollution. To this end, partners initiated a comprehensive, coordinated campaign called the Diesel Clean-up Campaign. Partner organizations worked together to create a Platform, which includes nine principles that act as guidelines in this work, and define a goal of reducing diesel particulate matter emissions 55 percent by 2015 and 70 percent by 2020. Tens of thousands of lives could be saved if these goals are met.
To find local and state diesel clean-up policy and links to leaders, go to our Local & State Policy page.