Call for stricter CO2 emission proposals as EU looks to post-2020 regulations

30 October 2017

30 October 2017

A number of European countries are calling on the EU Commission to set stricter limits on vehicle CO2 levels ahead of new proposals to be announced in November.

Officials are expected to introduce new standards for emissions for beyond 2020, when current guidelines run out. Any new proposals will be made in order to help the continent achieve its goal of cutting overall CO2 emissions by at least 40% below levels recorded in 1990, by 2030.

According to the news agency Reuters, the Commission plans to set a target for reducing emissions of passenger car fleets between 25% and 35% by 2030. This is above a proposal by automotive manufacturers, and tabled by European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) calling for a 20% reduction target over current levels, with allowances for any slow movement in the electric vehicle (EV) market.

In a nod to manufacturers’ concerns that infrastructure for electric vehicles is lacking, the proposal will include €800 million of EU funding for governments, regions and cities to build accessible charging points, plus €200 million for battery development between 2018 and 2020.

Speaking about the proposed reduction by manufacturers, ACEA President, Dieter Zetsche commented in September: ′This is a steep reduction. It is also in line with what is expected of other industry sectors, as well as the EU Climate and Energy Framework and the global Paris agreement. In our opinion, this conditionality principle links Europe’s long-term climate objectives to the reality of the market. Currently the reality is that the market uptake of electrically-chargeable vehicles is low – and this is not due to lack of availability and choice.’

However, seven governments have written a letter to the Commission to demand that the highest level of reduction is called for in the proposals. ′Without ambitious targets, the EU will struggle to meet its climate goals,’ they wrote in a letter to the Commission on 25 October. The transport and environment ministers of Luxembourg, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, Portugal, Ireland and Slovenia signed the letter.

The countries have a much smaller stake in the European car industry than France, Germany and Italy, and therefore believe that their voice is more impartial, so calling for a stricter target will help the Commission meet its 2030 climate change goals.

Manufacturers are already facing large fines for not meeting the current 2020 targets, following the diesel emissions saga, causing sales of the engine technology to plummet. As diesel vehicles emit less CO2 than their petrol counterparts, car makers have been relying on this market to help them achieve levels of 95 grams per kilometre. However as buyers turn to petrol, and with a slow uptake in EV development, seven vehicle companies are in danger of missing the targets. Toyota and the Renault Nissan Alliance, both of whom have a range of electric vehicles (EVs), Jaguar Land Rover and Volvo, which has announced it is to end the sale of pure petrol and diesel vehicles from 2019, are on track to meet the regulated CO2 amounts, according to forecasts by PA Consulting.