EU nations agree on higher CO2 reductions for 2030

18 December 2018

EU nations agree on higher CO2 reductions for 2030

18 December 2018

Representatives of European Governments have agreed on a drastic reduction in CO2 levels for both passenger cars and vans from 2030.

The group has signed off on a 37.5% reduction, based on 2021 levels, for passenger cars, with a 31% reduction for vans. This is tougher than the original proposal of 30% and brings an end to discussions about the target in the EU parliament, which have been ongoing for most of the year.

The 28 member states have been divided over how strict the cut in CO2 levels should be, with some nations wanting up to 40% cuts, while others, including Germany which is home to many of Europe’s leading carmakers, suggesting a more lax approach. Negotiations have also agreed that an interim cut of 15% by 2025 should be put in place.

The current targets were 130g/km for 2015, with manufacturers needing to meet a limit of 95g/km by 2021. However, with the collapse of the diesel market in recent years, many companies are expected to miss this goal.

Germany's VDA automotive industry association said the new legislation would set high demands while doing little to promote or provide incentives for switching to electric vehicles

The negotiated deal ‘demands too much,’ said VDA head Bernhard Mattes. ‘Nobody knows today how the agreed limits can be achieved in the given time,’ he said.

Speaking before the announcement of the higher limits, Mattes commented: ‘The Commission’s proposal [at the time a 30% reduction] can only be achieved if the proportion of electric vehicles among new registrations rises rapidly right across Europe. How well the market for e-vehicles picks up speed will depend on many factors: battery costs, the charging infrastructure, fuel prices and public procurement.’

The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) has also expressed its concerns over the ‘highly challenging’ targets. The association, in a statement, said that while the 37.5% reduction from cars, and 31% from vans, might seem plausible, the figures are ‘unrealistic’ based on where the industry stands today.

‘ACEA’s members are of course committed to further reducing CO2 emissions from their vehicles, but these targets will be extremely demanding on Europe’s auto industry,’ stated ACEA Secretary General, Erik Jonnaert. ‘Indeed, they will require a much stronger market uptake of electric and other alternatively-powered vehicles than is currently proving possible.

‘All our member companies will continue to invest in their portfolios of alternatively-powered cars and vans, but there are still several obstacles putting the brakes on widespread consumer acceptance, such as affordability and the lack of a sufficiently dense network of recharging and refuelling infrastructure.’

ACEA is now calling on the 28 member states and the European Commission to ensure that all the enabling conditions are in place for these aggressive CO2 reduction levels, notably the much-needed investments in infrastructure.

The association believes that the extremely ambitious CO2 targets will have a seismic impact on jobs across the entire automotive value chain, which employs some 13.3 million Europeans. To mitigate the negative impact of these structural changes, policymakers need to act swiftly by presenting concrete plans to manage this employment and skills transition in a proper, socially-acceptable way.