The European Council and Parliament agreed on Monday to reduce CO2 emissions from cars built in the EU by 37.5 percent by 2030, and emissions from vans by 31 percent, in a compromise deal that has met with a guarded welcome from environmental groups and concern from the car industry.
As an interim target CO2 reductions from both cars and vans must cut by 15 percent by the year 2025. The European Parliament backed by member states France and the Netherlands had called for a reduction of 40 percent by 2030 but this was rejected by, among others, Germany whose powerful automotive industry was worth some 423 billion euros to its economy in 2017.
The compromise includes penalties for manufacturers who miss their emission reduction targets, but no penalties if they do not produce enough electric or hybrid vehicles. It also proposes that the money for the penalties should go to a European fund “for a just transition”, to help smaller countries decarbonise.
“This is an important signal in our fight against climate change,” said Elisabeth Köstinger, the Austrian Minister for Sustainable Development, whose country holds the EU presidency until the end of the month.
“Europe is moving up a gear in the race to manufacture zero-emission vehicles. This new regulation means that in 2030 about a third of new vehicles will be electric or hydrogen. It is progress, but not fast enough to keep our climate commitments.” said Greg Archer of director of the Brussels NGO Transport and Environment.
Car manufacturers strongly disagreed with the new measures arguing that that jobs will be lost unless the industry receives more support to achieve the proposed targets. The European Association of Automobile Manufacturers (ACEA) denounced the objectives as “totally unrealistic” and warned of a “devastating effect” on employment in the sector.
The regulations laying out clean mobility targets will now have to be formally approved by both the European Parliament and the Council, after which they should enter into force in 2020.