Strasbourg round-up: 2020 target to reduce CO2 emissions from new passenger cars

Written by Thomas Ulmer, Mario Pirillo, Chris Davies and Rebecca Harms on 26 February 2014 in Special Report
Special Report

The European parliament has voted to revise EU rules on CO2 emissions limits for passenger cars for 2020. Rapporteur Thomas Ulmer and shadows Mario Pirillo, Chris Davies and Rebecca Harms share their views on the outcome.

The European parliament has voted to revise EU rules on CO2 emissions limits for passenger cars for 2020. Rapporteur Thomas Ulmer and shadows Mario Pirillo, Chris Davies and Rebecca Harms share their views on the outcome.


Thomas Ulmer is parliament's rapporteur on 2020 target to reduce CO2 emissions from new passenger cars

In the negotiations which have resulted from the trilogue discussions on CO2 emissions from new vehicles, I see a good compromise between the interests of the industry on the one hand and the environment and the consumer on the other . It was important to me to allow the manufacturers of new motor vehicles some leeway in economic terms, but also to require and promote the development of alternative drive concepts. The regulation is the most stringent in the world and it is also of significance for the USA and Asia.

In order to comply with the 100 percent requirement of the average maximum emissions of 95 grams of CO2 per kilometer the manufacturers should therefore be allowed an extra year for this. By 2020 already 95 percent of vehicle emissions should not exceed this value, and then as from 2021 this will apply for all vehicles. With regard to the crediting of vehicles with especially low CO2 emissions ("super credits") in the first three years, that is to say until end of 2022, there will be the option of applying a requirement for an overall maximum of 7.5 grams. It should be possible to stage this flexibly over that period. From 2020 credit factor 2 should apply and should afterwards be reduced gradually from 1.67 in 2021 through 1.33 in the following year to then be subsumed into Factor 1, which will then apply as from 2023. The maximum "CO2 discount" which is then thus achievable should be 2.5 grams per year per manufacturer. This is a more judicious and time-limited innovation incentive.

In contrast to the USA, eco-innovations play no part in this regulation. I would have liked to have increased this somewhat for our electric vehicle manufacturers, but in the final outcome we have reached a negotiation solution which also ended in a unanimous acceptance by the council of the proposal. It is important to me that motor vehicles remain affordable for people as well as being safe and more economical. At the end of the day a rational use of resources is also of importance to me. It is a matter of finding the right balance so that none of the parties are over-burdened, that is to say not the consumers nor the manufacturers or, indeed, the environment.


Mario Pirillo is parliament's S&D group shadow rapporteur on 2020 target to reduce CO2 emissions from new passenger cars

The fact that the emissions target has been confirmed as 95g of CO2 for 2020 will help to achieve the long-term targets for reducing carbon emissions, which must inevitably lead to solutions for reducing our dependence on fossil fuels over time.

CO2 consumption and emissions are directly linked, and this ratio needs to be improved. Many independent studies have highlighted the inaccuracies of current testing methods, in place since the 1970s, which show a difference of almost 25 per cent compared to the actual consumption of motor vehicles . The information that car buyers receive is therefore not reflective of a vehicle's real fuel consumption.

For this reason, I hope that the European commission will uphold its commitment as it is framed within this regulation to adopt the new set of testing procedures by no later than 2017. These procedures will reproduce real driving conditions and take into account new technologies used in cars when calculating emissions.

I am satisfied with the commitment made by commissioner Connie Hedegaard during the debate yesterday to put forward a new legislative proposal containing feasible new targets for 2025, which can help the industry continue to become more competitive than non-European industrial partners.



Chris Davies parliament's ALDE group shadow rapporteur on 2020 target to reduce CO2 emissions from new passenger cars

By any measure the EU requirements to reduce CO2 emissions from new cars have proven a success. By improving fuel efficiency standards they have reduced the cost of driving as well as cutting our oil imports. They have ensured that our car manufacturers, and the component makers, have stayed as world leaders in technological development. Oh, and they have reduced CO2 emissions too, from an average of 163g/km in 2007 to 130g/km.

All credit to the whizz kids who design and engineer our vehicles. The carmakers grumbled when legislation was first proposed in 2008 and said the standards couldn't be met except at disproportionate cost. In fact, they have almost all met them ahead of schedule. German lobbying notwithstanding, the new legislation which calls for emissions to be reduced to 95g/km over the next 6-7 years was tacitly endorsed by the vast majority of manufacturers.

It's hard to recall that a decade ago MEPs were having to press the commission to introduce legislation to reduce CO2 emissions from cars . Claims that it would result in manufacturers leaving Europe have been disproved. Everyone recognises the competitive pressures faced by the industry but the EU single market provides it with a level playing field and a degree of protection. If carmakers outside the EU want to sell their cars to our citizens they have to meet our emission standards.

If only all our policies to combat global warming could demonstrate such similar win-win results.


Rebecca Harms is parliament's Greens/EFA group shadow rapporteur on 2020 target to reduce CO2 emissions from new passenger cars

This week the European parliament voted to confirm a legislative agreement, revising EU rules on CO2 emissions limits for passenger cars for 2020. The final agreement marks the end of a remarkable legislative process. After a compromise had already been agreed between the parliament and the Irish presidency, the German government blocked the vote in council and forced the presidency and the EP to renegotiate the deal to allow for more flexibility for car manufacturers. The German intervention undermined not only EU climate policies but also the EU's democratic decision-making process.

The limit of 95g CO2/km for 2020 had already been agreed in 2008 when the regulation was first adopted. Only the modalities had to be fixed during the current review. Car manufacturers had ample time to prepare for the target and make the necessary adjustments to their fleets. Despite their fierce protest already during the negotiations in 2008, most manufacturers even met their 2015 targets early and are on the way to reach the 2020 target.

Nevertheless the German government forced through extensive loopholes. In 2020 manufacturers can exclude the dirtiest five per cent of their fleet from the calculations. And for three years car producers can count especially efficient and clean cars multiple times towards their CO2 target. In reality the 2020 target therefore will only be met in 2023 .

Weakening and delaying the agreed 2020 limits, is a shameful sop to German car manufacturers. It does not only harm the climate and cause higher costs for the consumers. It will also slow the development of new technologies to deliver more efficient and less polluting cars. Unfortunately, some in the European car industry as well as some politicians continue to view climate protection and competitiveness as mutually exclusive rather than complementary.

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