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Policies to reduce transport emissions often overlook the international flow of used vehicles. We quantify the rate at which used vehicles generated CO2 and pollution for all used vehicles exported from Great Britain—a globally leading used vehicle exporter—across 2005–2021. Destined for low–middle-income countries, exported vehicles fail roadworthiness standards and, even under extremely optimistic ‘functioning-as-new’ assumptions, generate at least 13–53% more emissions than scrapped or on-road vehicles.

Original publication




Journal article


Nature Climate Change


Nature Research

Publication Date



Big Data, Machine Learning, Climate Change