Europe’s chance to have clean air
In 2021 and 2022, the European Union is revising its main law limiting pollution from cars, vans and trucks. A new emission standard called Euro 7 is under development and is expected to be implemented from 2025. A new standard is urgently needed as a failure to address the causes of the toxic air that millions of us are forced to breathe daily, will result in more unnecessary and avoidable deaths.
Air pollution in European cities is appalling. It causes around 400,000 premature deaths per year and a wide range of serious illnesses including heart disease, lung disease and cancer. The latest research shows that there is no safe level of air pollution and that road transport is a major cause of toxic air right across Europe.
Despite some reductions in pollution from road transport in recent years, owing largely to the introduction of on-road emissions testing following the Dieselgate scandal, emissions from cars, vans, buses and trucks continue to be the leading source of nitrogen dioxide pollution and the third largest source of fine particulate matter, PM2.5. Internal combustion engines also emit many other pollutants dangerous to health, such as hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide.
The European Commission assembled emissions experts from across Europe, known as CLOVE, to independently assess the shortfalls in the current car and truck emission standards, and propose new emission limits and tests based on what is both economically and technically feasible. Earlier this year, CLOVE presented recommendations that suggest stricter limits and rules based on what new emissions technologies, such as e-catalysts, can deliver.
Read our principles and latest recommendations for the upcoming Euro car and van emission standard
The response from car manufacturers has been to fiercely oppose the CLOVE proposals, and to aggressively lobby against a stronger Euro 7 emissions standard. If the car industry is successful in weakening Euro 7, Europe risks putting almost 100 million more high polluting cars on its roads in the decade between 2025 and 2035.
We have one last opportunity to introduce stricter emissions standards to reduce toxic emissions from internal combustion engines (ICE), make air safer to breathe across Europe, and make towns and cities healthier and cleaner places to live in.
The car industry is lobbying against new emissions standards proposed in the Euro 7 legislation and it does not care about people's right to breathe clean air. Share this video to spread the word. pic.twitter.com/yuOENy5hfh
— Transport & Environment (@transenv) October 1, 2021
The seven (dirty) air pollution tricks of the auto industry
To bring about a much needed improvement in air quality across Europe and reduce its negative effects on human and environmental health, T&E is campaigning to secure an ambitious and comprehensive Euro 7.
The car industry has a long history of crying wolf on emission standards, claiming that compliance will be impossible, too expensive or cripple sales, only to fully comply once the regulation enters force.
Instead of innovating and ensuring their vehicles are fitted with the latest technologies to clean up toxic emissions, the car industry is spending time and money fighting any significant improvement to the Euro 7 standard. While their CEOs are busy wooing investors at shiny ‘EV days’, the three German carmakers and their EU umbrella group ACEA spent almost €9 million lobbying in Brussels, some of which was spent weakening the clean car regulations.
Lawmakers should look past the industry’s claims and focus on doing what is right for EU citizens’ health. This means ensuring that the draft Euro 7 proposals expected at the end of 2021 are ambitious and robust and bring emissions down to the lowest technically possible levels.