Further decarbonisation of transport through a shift to alternative fuels and electro-mobility forms a major part of the European Commission’s strategy for an ‘energy union’, unveiled last week. With transport being responsible for more than 30% of EU energy consumption and a quarter of emissions, the Commission said legislation on ‘decarbonising the transport sector, including an action plan on alternative fuels’ would be put forward in 2017.
The Commission has said a number of EU member states could be making more and better use of environmental taxation.
EU governments last week agreed three modest targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions, increase the share of renewable energy and improve energy efficiency by 2030. Environmental groups said the goals would not do enough to cut Europe’s dependence on fossil fuels and put it on track to meet its own 2050 climate pledges.
A deal to salvage something of the EU’s post-2015 strategy to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from new cars has been agreed by MEPs. The European Parliament voted this week to approve the original 95 grams per kilometre limit, but by 2021, not 2020 as planned. T&E said the weakening of the Commission’s original proposals was ‘unnecessary’ and would create additional CO2 emissions, but it was still an acceptable deal overall.
EU member states have accepted a proposal that weakens the proposed legislation to limit carbon dioxide emissions from new cars from 2020. Following heavy lobbying by the German car industry, the 95 grams of CO2 per kilometre target for 2020 was effectively watered down by another 5 grams. T&E says the weakening will mean an increase in fuel bills of €775 over the lifetime of the average car.
It is not often that European environmental policy stories end up on front pages of newspapers, so when it happens, you can be sure there is more to it than just EU environmental policy.
The EU’s agreement on limiting carbon dioxide from new cars from 2020 has fallen through. EU environment ministers voted to reopen negotiations on the deal that was agreed in June, following a massive lobbying operation by the German government on behalf of Germany’s luxury car industry. T&E says this lobbying to protect German luxury car makers is an unprecedented abuse of the EU legislative process.
Germany’s luxury carmakers are raising the stakes in their battle to weaken EU legislation that will set fuel consumption limits for new cars made after 2020. The German chancellor Angela Merkel used a speech at this month’s Frankfurt motor show to say that strict limits would damage European carmakers’ competitiveness in global markets. Yet T&E’s eighth annual Cars & CO2 report shows that EU legislation is speeding up improvements to fuel efficiency, which in turn leads to drivers saving money at the fuel pump.
The battle to set emissions limits from new cars for 2020 is becoming increasingly bitter. Lobbying by Germany on behalf of its two leading luxury car makers led to the issue being removed from the agenda of a meeting expected to approve a negotiated settlement - an unprecedented move. Germany’s tactics have caused one senior Commission official to express concern about the integrity of the EU decision-making process, while diplomats have talked about ‘rogue behaviour’ by Berlin creating ‘bad blood’ among ministers.
The potential for environmental technology in the automotive industry to create jobs, reduce vehicle running costs and harmful emissions, and lessen Europe’s dependence on imported oil has been highlighted in a new report published last month. Various scenarios suggest carbon dioxide could be cut by 64-97% by 2050, while 0.5-1.1 million additional jobs could be created by 2030.