The Parliament wants to benchmark sales of zero- and low-emission vehicles with a 5 per cent sales target by 2025 and 30 per cent by 2030. Photo: / Fiat 500e California CC BY-SA

Climate targets for trucks and cars in the making

The European Parliament is pushing for more ambitious CO2 standards for cars and lorries by 2030. Though even more cuts are needed to decarbonise the vehicle fleet by 2050.

One year ago, in November 2017, the Commission presented a proposal for new CO2 standards for cars and vans. In their view, CO2 emissions from new cars and vans should be cut by 30 per cent by 2030 with an interim target of 15 per cent by 2025, compared to 2020.

In early October, the Parliament agreed on a position to raise the target to a 40 per cent cut in CO2 by 2030, with an interim target of 20 per cent compared to 2021 for both vehicle types. The Council also wants to go further than the Commission for cars, favouring a 35 per cent target, but does not want to raise the ambition for vans.

As with the previous CO2 targets it is the average emissions of all cars sold from each car manufacturer that is regulated. Automakers that do not comply face heavy fines.

Aside from these core targets, various derogations are debated that risk undermining the main ambition.

The Commission’s proposal includes a “super-credit” system, under which zero- and low-emission vehicles are given extra weight in the accounting. The idea is also to create differentiation between member states depending on the current sales of zero- and low-emission vehicles. This system risks unintended distortions, in which a car will be registered in one country where it is given a “super-credit” and then immediately sold in another member state that has less generous rules. The Parliament wants to replace this system by benchmarking sales of zero- and low-emission vehicle with a 5 per cent sales target by 2025 and 30 per cent by 2030.

There are also conflicting standpoints on derogations for so-called niche manufacturers. Austria, which currently has Presidency of the Council, suggests that automakers that register less than 270,000 new vehicles per calendar year will be exempted from fines for non-compliance. This would benefit firms such as Ferrari, Jaguar, Volvo and Honda, among others. The European Parliament argue that the differentiation between niche manufacturers and large manufacturers is outdated, since they all have the same potential to meet the CO2 targets.

Similar standards for heavy-duty-vehicles, such as lorries, buses and coaches, are being negotiated in parallel. The Commission presented their proposal in May 2018 and it echoes their proposal for cars and vans: 15 per cent cuts by 2025 and 30 per cent cuts by 2030. But in this case the base year is 2019 and the final target is only interim and subject to review in 2022.

The Council have not yet settled on a position, but preliminary texts suggest that they will take the same line as the Commission. Parliament, on the other hand, wants to raise the ambition to a 35 per cent cut by 2030, with an interim 2025 target of 20 per cent.

As with cars, the Commission has proposed a “super credit” system for zero- and low-emission vehicles, while the Parliament advocates a benchmark for sales.

Worth to note is that also the Parliament proposal falls short in the ambition to achieve a decarbonised vehicle fleet by 2050. A recent report by Transport and Environment states it implies that all vehicles sold would be zero emission vehicles by the early 2030s and by 2035 at the very latest.

The aim for both sets of regulations is to have them settled before the European Parliament elections in May.

Kajsa Pira

ENDS Daily 3 December 2018, 30 November 2018, 14 November 2018,30 October 2018, 3 October 2018
Commission proposal for cars and vans
Commission proposal for lorries



In this issue