Germany and Visegrad, aided by EU Commission, block ambitious car emission cuts

One day after the world’s leading climate scientists urged global leaders to drastically cut emissions to avoid catastrophic climate change, EU governments agreed to reduce carbon emissions from new cars by just 35% in 2030, compared to 2021 levels. Although slightly better than the Commission’s proposal, European NGO federation Transport & Environment (T&E) says this position falls well short of what is needed to meet the EU’s 2030 climate law and avoid dangerous climate change as highlighted in yesterday’s IPCC’s report.

Angela Merkel

The final deal, made just before midnight, includes: a 15% reduction target for cars and vans in 2025 and a 30% van target for 2030, all in line with the Commission original proposal. In addition, countries where the share of EVs is considerably below the EU average, namely Central, Eastern Europe, the sale of low- and zero-emission vehicles count double towards meeting the CO2 reduction target. A controversial derogation of niche manufacturers making up to 300 thousand cars was extended, notably benefiting Jaguar Land Rover.

Seventeen countries representing over half of Europe’s population originally called for a 2030 CO2 reduction target of at least 40%. Germany and the Visegrad countries fiercely lobbied for no more than a 30% cut proposed by the European Commission; aided behind the scenes by Commissioner Cañete. Denmark, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Slovenia and Sweden stated their disappointment with the position agreed and said they would call for higher ambition in negotiations with Parliament.

Greg Archer, clean vehicles director with T&E, said: “Today’s decision by EU governments is disappointing for the planet. It shows how far the Commission and some member states have shrunk from climate leadership putting carmakers interests first despite the dire warning of the effects of dangerous climate change. But this is not over, the forthcoming negotiations with the European Parliament can still achieve an ambitious deal that puts the EU on track towards limiting warming to 1.5 degrees and is also good for jobs, cleaner air and consumers.”

Last week, the European Parliament voted for a 20% cut in CO2 emissions from new cars and vans in 2025 and a 40% reduction in 2030, in a bid to speed up the electric car revolution and secure jobs in Europe. In the past year, global carmakers with European marques have invested seven times more in electric vehicle production in China than in the EU. Higher reduction targets will speed up the transition to low and zero-emission cars and create more than 200,000 net additional jobs by 2030 in both the car sector and in the wider European economy. Transport is Europe’s biggest climate polluter, with over two-thirds of road transport emissions coming from cars and vans.

Inter-institutional negotiations between the European Parliament, EU governments and the European Commission will start tomorrow already. A final deal is expected by early 2019, ensuring the law is confirmed before the next European elections.

 


Contact the press team

Nico Muzi
Communications Director
+32 (0)484 27 87 91 
nico.muzi@transportenvironment.org

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