European Parliament’s environment committee votes to tighten up Commission’s proposal for future CO2 Regulation of passenger cars and light commercial vehicles post-2021
The European Parliament’s environment committee (ENVI) voted yesterday on the future CO2 Regulation for passenger cars and light commercial vehicles for the period after 2021. The majority of committee members voted for the draft from the Maltese social democrat Miriam Dalli, MEP. This stipulates that by 2030 car manufacturers should reduce the CO2 output from their new vehicle fleets in the European Union by 45 percent (compared to 2021 values). For 2025, a binding interim target of a 20 percent reduction is planned. Equally high reduction rates would apply to light commercial vehicles. In 2025, 20 percent of vehicles sold should have zero emissions, and for 2030 a proportion of 40 percent per year is envisaged. If auto makers do not satisfy these requirements, they will be subject to a penalty system – a tighter individual fleet target may be expected. So the report actually sets a quota.
Bernhard Mattes, President of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), commented:
“The vote in the environment committee ignores the technical and economic reality. The proposed targets cannot be achieved within the specified period. Even the European Commission’s proposal is extraordinarily ambitious. But the much tougher targets envisaged by Ms. Dalli are not comprehensible either in terms of climate policy or of economic policy, because the level planned by the European Commission is actually sufficient to be sure of achieving the EU’s climate targets in a manner that is efficient for the national economies. The resolution carried by a Red-Green-Liberal majority with support from the EFDD group, which includes the AFD, would, by contrast, result in many jobs in Europe being lost. Under the ENVI resolution, these job losses would be mitigated by programs to be financed by the fines imposed on the manufacturers. It is extremely alarming that the European Parliament knowingly accepts that a European Regulation will lead to massive cuts in jobs, and actually addresses this explicitly. Now it remains to hope that the Members of the European Parliament will adopt a more realistic perspective in the plenary vote in October and find an economically and ecologically expedient solution.”
The European Commission is planning reductions of 15 percent in CO2 emissions from the European new vehicle fleet by 2025 and of 30 percent by 2030. Mattes stated, “For these limit values, from today’s viewpoint it is already more than questionable whether they can be achieved. That would require strong and rapid growth in electric mobility, including the charging infrastructure. When that will happen depends on many factors that are not solely in the hands of the automotive industry, such as battery costs, the charging infrastructure, fuel prices and public procurement. Electric mobility is a common task for the industry, policymakers and consumers.’
The VDA president stressed, “The environment committee suggests ambitious targets, but does not give any answers to the question of how the transformation to climate-friendly mobility can be achieved. Such demands contradict the political objective of promoting growth and employment in Europe.”
Mattes also criticized the proposals for the CO2 fleet limit values for light commercial vehicles. “Requirements that are not realistic for passenger cars will be completely unattainable for vans. The development and product cycles are much longer for commercial vehicles, taking up to 10 years. Furthermore, lower fuel consumption is always a key argument in purchasing decisions, so the market is by its very nature tuned to CO2 efficiency.”
The automotive industry is aware of its responsibility for climate protection and invests heavily in research and development for alternative powertrains. Fuel consumption has fallen continually, and with it the CO2 output from new vehicles. For example, today newly registered passenger cars from German group brands consume around one quarter less fuel than new cars did in 2007.
Yet the success of recent years cannot be continued automatically in the future, because the technologies that have until now contributed to bringing down consumption will become more and more elaborate as the level of improvement increases. Optimization of the combustion engine will no longer be sufficient to continue major progress in reducing CO2 after 2020.