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Realistic real-world driving emissions tests: a last chance for diesel cars?

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Air pollution emissions limits for cars, vans and trucks (Euro Standards) have been progressively tightened, on paper, over 25 years but have failed to deliver real-world improvements for several key pollutants, notably nitrogen dioxide. This is because obsolete tests and “cycle beating” techniques have been used by carmakers leading to levels of emissions from some cars many times higher on the road than in laboratory tests. In October 2014, the Commission will be discussing progress and next steps with EU member states. This paper outlines key issues for member states to ensure that the new real-world (PEMS) tests are robust and representative of real-world driving in order for emissions to decline on the road. 

Three reasons why road transport in the ETS is a bad idea

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The EU is currently discussing its climate and energy policy for 2030. As part of these discussions German carmakers have been advocating the inclusion of road transport emissions in the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS). Some countries like Denmark also support the idea, although for different reasons. This briefing explains why transport’s inclusion in the ETS would delay emissions reductions in transport, undermine more effective climate policies for transport, and weaken the ETS and increase costs.

Tackling real world emissions from cars

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Light duty vehicles (LDVs) emit more pollutants on the road than in laboratory conditions. In order to solve this problem the Commission decided to introduce complementary type-approval procedures to measure gaseous and particulate emissions during real driving to make sure that they are similar to legal emission limits. To achieve this, the Real-Driving Emissions-Light Duty Vehicles (RDE-LDV) working group was created in 2011. Work in this group is currently focused on RDE tests during initial type approval.

This paper has been prepared by T&E to aid the work of this group. The paper considers the main topics of discussion: data analysis methods, boundary conditions, conformity factor, equipment (portable emissions measurement system – PEMS) and scope.

Tackling emissions from diesel machines

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European air pollution rules for diesel machines such as bulldozers, excavators and barges are much more lax than those for cars and lorries. As well as this, some engine types and older machines are excluded from air pollution law. This is a problem because, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), diesel exhaust is carcinogenic. Ambitious, comprehensive and consistent rules are needed to limit air pollution emissions from non-road mobile machinery (NRMM - diesel machines). These are required to address the growing urban air pollution that Europe faces. T&E believes that future EU legislation on diesel machines must be in line with emissions limits for equivalent road vehicles.

Vehicle noise: final trilogue negotiations

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Traffic noise is the second-biggest environmental factor affecting Europeans’ health after air pollution. Almost half of EU citizens are regularly exposed to road traffic noise over the level that the World Health Organisation considers to pose a serious risk to health. Noise pollution has been linked to 50,000 fatal heart attacks every year in Europe. This briefing outlines the European Commission, Parliament and Council positions on a proposal for new vehicle noise standards ahead of a third round of trilogue negotiations on 5 November, 2013. It also outlines T&E's analysis of the main issues as well as its recommendations for a compromise that avoids legal and technical loopholes.

Open letter to the Lithuanian Presidency of the EU calling on the deal on CO2 emissions from cars to be put to a vote

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In this open letter to the Lithuanian Presidency of the Council of the EU, Transport & Environment and Greenpeace call on the Presidency to fulfil its role as neutral and unbiased chair, follow the wish of the vast majority of member states and the two other EU institutions, and put the agreed deal to reduce CO2 emissions from new cars to a vote.

How clean are Europe's cars 2013

This report is the eighth T&E has published on the annual progress Europe’s major car manufacturers have made in reducing CO2 emissions and fuel consumption of new cars. As we did in previous reports, we also assess progress per EU Member State and review how official CO2 figures are translating into the ‘real world’.
 

A critical assessment of the Aachen study on the CO2 reduction potential for light commercial vehicles

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In 2010 the EU reached an agreement on CO2 emission standards for light commercial vehicles (vans). The final outcome was a significant weakening of the initial Commission proposal of 135g CO2/km. Misinformation about technological potential and inflated cost estimates convinced policy makers that the proposed target levels had to be weakened. A study which was instrumental in influencing policy makers was the 2010 Aachen (IKA) study. It had been commissioned by the German ministry of economy to inform its position and concluded that CO2 emission reductions from vans are extremely difficult and very expensive. Despite the availability of new and more up-to-date studies, today the same study continues to be used to assert that 147g is an “over-ambitious” target.This briefing analyses how the IKA study came to its results and assesses the credibility of these results. 

Road transport in the EU ETS – why it is a bad idea

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This paper is a response from Transport & Environment to the ‘Consultation on structural options to strengthen the EU Emissions Trading System’ (ETS) by the European Commission. The response focuses on the fourth (‘d’) of six options proposed – extension of the scope of the ETS to other sectors - with a special focus on extending the scope of the ETS to road transport. T&E strongly opposes this idea, as it will not deliver economic benefits and will seriously jeopardise emissions reductions in transport. 

Appraisal of the Krahmer Report on vans & CO2

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In July 2012 the Commission published its proposal to review Regulation 510/2011 which sets CO2 emission targets for new light commercial vehicles (vans). The Environment Committee leads the deliberations in the European Parliament and Holger Krahmer (ALDE) has been appointed rapporteur. This briefing appraises proposals within his report and quantifies how these could lead to a weakening of the target in excess of 10g, raising the target to more than 157g/km.

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