• Strict car target now helps 2020

    Getting agreement now on a strict CO2 emissions limit from new cars could be a key to the EU meeting its greenhouse gas reduction target of 20% by 2020 without the need for massive fuel tax rises.

    This is one of the conclusions to emerge from a new paper ‘Tools for Cutting European Transport Emissions’, which was published last month by the Swedish transport economist and former T&E president Per Kågeson. Kågeson set out to look at the various options for transport to play its part in EU efforts to meet the 2020 target, exploring the trade-off between fuel taxes and emissions trading.

    Aware that politicians are reluctant to be associated with rising fuel taxes, he offers a scenario in which rises in fuel tax could be kept to just €0.09 per litre. But for this to happen, ministers and MEPs would have to accept the Commission’s proposal on how to split the burden between the emissions reductions expected from the ETS and those expected of member states, and the maximum possible use would have to be made of technical abatement measures. This would mean an average CO2 figure for new cars of 100g/km in 2020, and making use of 75% of the CO2 credits allowed from projects in developing countries.

    Kågeson says the simplest way of meeting the 2020 target would involve a harmonised carbon tax on emissions from sectors not subject to emissions trading, but he recognises this is unlikely to happen under current EU voting rules.