ABU DHABI - The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD), during COP28, revealed the findings of its remote sensing of vehicles emissions project since it was launched in February 2022. The Agency shared the results during an event at the UAE Pavilion's Blue Zone.

The Agency's remote-sensing project remotely measured vehicle emissions on the roads of Abu Dhabi using state-of-the-art remote-sensing technology. The project was the first of its kind implemented in the UAE and the Middle East, deploying an advanced technique with a multi-patented system.

The analysis revealed many significant results, including the current minimum emission standard (euro 4), applied in the UAE since 2018, brought a significant drop in harmful pollutant emissions from on-road transport in Abu Dhabi.

Focusing on high-mileage fleet, the project found that taxis of over five years driving were responsible for disproportionate emissions with up to 15 times the type-approval limit. On city buses, the Abu Dhabi Integrated Transport Centre's introduction of the upgraded emission standard (euro 6) in buses was found to be successful in significantly cutting pollutant emissions by 94% in nitrogen oxides (NOx) and 86% in PM emissions.

Early results and recommendations from the project were shared with the Abu Dhabi Integrated Transport Centre (ITC) and the Department of Municipalities and Transport (DMT) to foster the development of future effective policies addressing both air pollution and climate change.

Furthermore, EAD and the relevant federal and local entities are working on aligning their upcoming policies benefiting from the findings and recommendations of the project's technical note.

Faisal Al Hammadi, Executive Director of the Environmental Quality Sector at EAD, said, "Road transport is one of the emitting sectors in Abu Dhabi emirate; however, emissions from vehicles are poorly understood. Therefore, in partnership with our key stakeholders, we were able to develop a remote-sensing monitoring campaign of real-world vehicle exhaust emissions. The measurement of exhaust emissions from vehicles during normal, on-road operation is key to any effective system for controlling air pollution in the transportation sector.

He added that this project is essential for Abu Dhabi to establish a baseline to guide future policies and regulations, while identifying the main emitting vehicle classes and technologies to design effective mitigation measures.

Yoann Bernard from the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), which was responsible for undertaking all the analysis of the data gathered by the remote-sensing technology, said, "Measuring vehicle emissions in real urban conditions is crucial for developing effective policies to reduce harmful pollutants and address the problem of high-emitting vehicles.

"This project marks the first application of remote sensing technology in the UAE and yields valuable lessons for Abu Dhabi and other emirates. It demonstrates a clear pathway to lowering pollutant emissions from on-road transport."

Sheila Watson from FIA Foundation said that by shedding light on the highest emitting vehicles of the city's vehicle fleet, TRUE is informing effective policies to deliver cleaner air and better health for all.

The project was carried out in cooperation with the Real Urban Emissions Initiative, International Council on Clean Transportation, Clean Air Fund, and EAD, in partnership with 4 Earth Intelligence Environmental Consultancy LLC (4EI) and US-based Hager Environmental and Atmospheric Technologies (HEAT).