Juncker’s early Christmas present to the car industry undermines climate goals

*See footnotes below for quotes in French and German

The European Commission’s announcement of CO2 targets for cars and vans today is a gift to Europe’s carmakers and fails to tackle the EU’s biggest climate problem, transport, campaigners Transport & Environment (T&E) said.

The target for zero emission vehicles of 30% of new sales in 2030 is welcome; but the failure to apply penalties for missing the goal renders it largely ineffective. The rules were weakened at the last minute following a call between President Juncker’s office and Matthias Wissmann, head of the German car lobby association (VDA).

The Commission proposal also fails to adequately respond to the urgent need to tackle transport CO2 emissions highlighted by the increase of 2.1% in the last year – other sectors’ emissions are falling. Specifically, the draft law requires CO2 emissions from new cars to fall by just 30% between 2021 and 2030; with an intermediate target of 15% for 2025. This covers less than a third of the road transport emission cuts that are needed by 2030. As a result, EU countries will have to resort to much more difficult measures such as restricting traffic, banning combustion cars or very steep fuel tax increases.

Greg Archer, clean vehicles director at T&E, said: “The Commission have gifted the car industry an ineffective regulation after they came calling. Removing the penalty for failing to meet zero-emission vehicle targets is an own goal. It amounts to handing the global leadership on electric cars to China, which will be delighted to export their models to Europe, jeopardising jobs in Europe’s auto industry.”

The proposal includes provisions to better monitor real-world fuel consumption but fails to include an effective system to ensure emissions cuts are delivered on the road instead of through flawed laboratory tests. Less than half (40%) of the CO2 cuts measured in official figures have actually been delivered on the road since the current regulation was adopted in 2009.

The proposal will now be considered by the European Council and Parliament, which will suggest their own changes before a final compromise is struck in early 2019. The European Parliament has previously supported a 18-28% cut by 2025 [1]. Nine EU countries have written to the Commission supporting a cut of 40% by 2030.

Greg Archer concluded: “The car industry may be leading at half-time but the game isn’t over. It is now down to member states and Parliament to make changes to the proposal in order to put Europe on a trajectory to clean up cars and vans and make its auto industry globally competitive. Regrettably, the Commission has failed to do either or learn from past mistakes.”

Notes to editors:

[1] Equals 68-78 gCO2/km (NEDC test) asked by the European Parliament in 2013.

* Greg Archer, Directeur de l'équipe "Clean vehicles" à T&E, précise: "Suite a un travail de lobby de la part de l'industrie automobile, la Commission Européenne lui a fait cadeau d'une régulation inefficace. La suppression des sanctions qui auraient dû être appliquées lorsque les objectifs de véhicules zéro émission ne sont pas atteints est contre-productive. Cela revient à donner le leadership du marché des voitures électriques à la Chine qui sera ravi d'exporter ses modèles vers l'Europe, ce qui mettra en péril les emplois de l'industrie automobile européenne."

Greg Archer ajoute: "L'industrie automobile est peut-être en avance pour le moment mais la partie n'est pas terminée. Les Etats Membres et le Parlement Européen peuvent maintenant apporter des changements à cette proposition afin d'inciter l'Europe à rendre ses voitures et ses camionnettes plus propres et afin de rendre son industrie automobile plus competitive. Malheureusement, la Commission a échoué dans ces deux cas et n'a pas appris de ses erreurs."

** Greg Archer, clean vehicles director at T&E, kommentiert: “Die Kommission hat der Autoindustrie auf Anruf ein ineffiziente Regulierung geschenkt. Ohne Sanktionsmechanismen wird ein Ziel für Nullemissionsfahrzeuge zum Eigentor. Europa überlässt China bereitwillig die Weltmarktführerschaft bei E-Autos und riskiert, dass ihre Modelle zukünftig nach Europa exportiert werden und Beschäftigung in Europa in Gefahr gebracht wird."

Greg Archer fügt hinzu: “Die Autoindustrie mag zur Halbzeit in Führung liegen aber das Spiel ist noch nicht zu Ende. Nun müssen die EU-Mitgliedsstaaten und das Europaparlament den Vorschlag der Kommission verbessern um PKWs und leichte Nutzfahrzeuge wirklich sauberer und die EU-Autoindustrie weltweit wettbewerbsfähiger zu machen. Leider hat die Kommission weder diese Ziele erreicht, noch aus der Vergangenheit gelernt.”


Contact the press team

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

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