The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation has awarded a $2,400,000 grant to the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), a nonprofit organization that is working to raise vehicle emissions standards and improve fuel efficiency to protect the environment and public health around the world.  The ICCT provides a forum for many of the world’s leading government officials and experts in transportation policy to exchange technical information and discuss the direction of future policies.

The ICCT was launched with the publication of the landmark Bellagio Memorandum on the Future of Motor Vehicles in 2001.  The Bellagio Memorandum lays out a clear, practical agenda by which the world’s fuel providers and automakers can cut emissions of conventional pollutants by 99 percent, and cut greenhouse emissions in half within the next ten to 20 years.  Since 2001, the ICCT has emerged as a respected voice for progress on clean transportation policies.  Its technical papers have been used by governments around the world as the basis for policy discussions and regulatory action.

“Since the 1970s, public and private investments to improve the environmental performance of motor vehicles and transportation fuels have met with extraordinary success: dramatically cleaner vehicles – and significant improvements in air pollution – at low cost,” said Drew Kodjak, Executive Director of the ICCT.  “Motor vehicle regulations are one of the best instances of government-led social programs in our age, and continued efforts can be expected to yield even greater benefits.”

In the last four years, the ICCT has brought top regulators from the United States, the European Union, China, Japan, India, Great Britain, Germany, Brazil, Mexico, Hong Kong, and Thailand together to share ideas and build consensus on key issues.  The meetings and workshops have resulted in the formulation of specific policy recommendations that have accelerated progress toward cleaner vehicles and fuels.

The organization’s early products include:

  • A sophisticated modeling analysis of the potential for greenhouse gas reductions from passenger vehicles that served as the technical basis for California’s regulation of greenhouse gas emissions from passenger vehicles.
  • Several cost-benefit analyses that quantify the overall social welfare gains associated with removing sulfur from gasoline and diesel fuels.
  • A package of clean transportation strategies to achieve clean air in Mexico in a decade. This paper’s principal author was Mario Molina, an ICCT participant and recipient of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry.
  • Papers on the negative health effects of certain fuel additives.
  • A best practices guide for retrofitting natural gas buses.
  • Comments on Euro V passenger vehicle standards that, for the first time, brought the voices of developing nations into the European Commission’s regulatory discussions.

The grant from the Hewlett Foundation will enable the ICCT to expand its work on these issues.  Specifically, funding from the Hewlett Foundation will help the ICCT promote international fuel economy standards for passenger and heavy-duty vehicles and foster the use of clean fuels.  In the next year, the ICCT plans to focus on five main policy priorities:

  • Continue progress on emission standards for passenger vehicles and commercial trucks, including the development of a best-practices standard for pollutant emissions from heavy-duty vehicles.
  • Promote clean, low sulfur fuels in order to enable advanced emission control technologies.
  • Assess the potential to improve fuel economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions of heavy-duty vehicles and examine policy options.
  • Evaluate options for reducing the air-quality hazards posed by international marine shipping and two- and three-wheeled vehicles, which are common in Asia.
  • Support efforts already underway in California, Europe and Canada to curb greenhouse gas emissions from passenger vehicles.

“The oil and auto industries are the ultimate expressions of globalization, but the clean air and energy standards for their products have been set locally.  This is inefficient – for both the industry and the environment,” said Hal Harvey, Environment Program Director at the Hewlett Foundation.  “The ICCT is working to build global standards that can accelerate the transition to much cleaner, more efficient vehicles.  We can move to super-clean, efficient autos in a decade – and it would otherwise take a quarter century or more to get there.”

Notably, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation recently acknowledged the importance of the ICCT’s work by selecting one of the Council’s founders, Michael Walsh, as a MacArthur Fellow.  Mr. Walsh, a mechanical engineer and policy analyst, has been working in the field of international clean transportation policy for several decades and his efforts, among others, helped inspire the Hewlett Foundation and Energy Foundation to convene the ICCT initially.  His areas of expertise include alternative fuels, vehicle pollution control technology, and vehicle emissions standards and regulations.

The Hewlett Foundation, along with the Energy Foundation, was an early sponsor of the ICCT’s work.  One of the goals of the Hewlett Foundation’s Environment Program is to reduce environmental impacts of fossil-fuel vehicles and transportation systems by promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy sources.  In addition to the ICCT, the Hewlett Foundation also supports transportation programs in Mexico, Canada, and Brazil, and through the Energy Foundation, in China.

The next meeting of the ICCT is expected to take place this summer in France.

About the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT)
The goal of the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) is to dramatically improve the environmental performance and efficiency of cars, trucks, buses and transportation systems in order to protect and improve public health, the environment, and quality of life.  The Council is made up of regulators and experts from leading auto markets around the world, who participate as individuals based on their experience with air quality and transportation issues.  More information is available on the ICCT’s Web site:  

About the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation,, has been making grants since 1966 to help solve social and environmental problems at home and around the world.  The Foundation concentrates its resources on activities in education, environment, global development, performing arts, philanthropy, population, and makes grants to support disadvantaged communities in the San Francisco Bay Area.  A full list of all the Hewlett Foundation’s grants can be found at