Germany's federal environment minister Svenja Schulze and EU climate commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete
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Businesses and hauliers said they need the EU to “provide a strong level of market certainty” for sales of zero-emission trucks by 2025 in their letter to the EU climate commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete, EU environment ministers and leading MEPs. Trucks cause almost 20% of NOx air pollution in many European cities while, together, trucks and vans emit 40% of all road transport’s CO2 emissions globally. Meanwhile, truckmakers have a history of holding back innovation: in 2017 the EU fined European manufacturers a record €3.8bn over a cartel to fix prices and delay the introduction of cleaner technologies.
Philippe de Carné, vice president for innovation at transport and logistics group Geodis, said: "We need greater market certainty about the availability of zero-emissions trucks if we are to live up to our climate responsibilities. A realistic but ambitious EU sales benchmark for clean vehicle technology in 2025 will be key to making that happen."
Last year more than 40 major global brands, transport companies and haulier associations wrote to European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker asking for an ambitious mandatory sales target for zero emission trucks to form part of the EU fuel efficiency standards for heavy-duty vehicles.
Bart Vandewaetere, Nestlé’s head of corporate communications and government relations for zone Europe, Middle East & North Africa, said: “We support the objective of the initiative to have more zero-emission trucks on the road. This is fully aligned with our ambitions to have close to zero environmental impact across our operations by 2030.”
MEPs have already voted for a 5% sales mandate for zero-emission lorries in 2025. EU environment ministers support a sales benchmark only if a review of the legislation in 2022 deems it appropriate – though business wants a 2025 sales benchmark to be confirmed now to provide certainty. However, national ambassadors will discuss it further today (6 February) before deciding their negotiating position for the next round of talks on 12 February.
Stef Cornelis, cleaner trucks officer at Transport & Environment, said: “Businesses are crying out for strong legislation that will increase the supply of zero-emission trucks. A 5% sales benchmark will be a clear step in the right direction. It will help Europe to move away from fossil fuel trucks. In the end we need to clean up our air, cut carbon emissions and improve our energy security. That’s why introducing an ambitious benchmark now is so important.”