Miriam Dalli’s ambitious CO2 emissions cut proposal for new cars finds resistance

The Labour MEP is the lead rapporteur for the regulation proposed by the European Commission on setting emission performance standards for new passenger cars and for new light commercial vehicles

Labour MEP Miriam Dalli
Labour MEP Miriam Dalli

Carbon emissions from new cars should be cut by 50% from 2030, Labour MEP Miriam Dalli is proposing in a report to the European Parliament’s environment committee.

The report is a follow-up of the European Commission’s proposal to reduce CO2 emissions from passenger cars and vans made in November last year.

The commission had suggested a 30% CO2 reduction for new cars from 2030, but Dalli is now proposing a more ambitious target, insisting this was needed to significantly cut CO2 emissions from the transport sector.

“The Commission’s proposal would equate to a total CO2 emission cut of between 18% and 19% from the transport sector, which is not enough when this sector contributes to 27% of the EU’s total carbon emissions,” Dalli said.

Transport is Europe’s biggest source of carbon emissions. Climate goals require countries to cut these emissions.

Dalli was appointed rapporteur of the environment committee last year and the MEP delivered her draft report this morning, amid concerns by some conservative MEPs that a more ambitious target would drive the car industry out of Europe.

The automotive industry is a domestic mainstay in some of the EU’s larger countries like Germany and France.

The report quotes the European Commission’s impact assessment that states “higher levels of ambition for the CO2 target would lead to a higher increase in the number of jobs”.

Dalli told MEPs that an analysis carried out by Cambridge Econometrics found that the transition to electric and hydrogen vehicles will create new jobs in manufacturing, installing the charging infrastructure, battery manufacturing and the production of renewable energy.

Dalli is proposing that by 2050, half of new cars sold will be electric
Dalli is proposing that by 2050, half of new cars sold will be electric

Sales of new electric vehicles, which emit no tailpipe exhaust, are still very low across the EU. A report by the European Environment Agency in 2016 showed that only the Netherlands had sales of electric vehicles that surpassed the 3% mark of all new cars sold.

In most other EU countries, electric vehicle sales only made up less than 0.3% of new cars sold.

Shifting to electric cars and hybrid vehicles is going to be crucial for a reduction in CO2 emissions to help the EU reach its Paris climate change targets.

Dalli is proposing that the share of zero- and low-emission vehicles (ZLEVs) in the European Union should reach 20% of the sales of new passenger cars and new light commercial vehicles in 2025, going up to 50% by 2050.

The report calls for targeted programmes for redeployment, re-skilling and up-skilling of workers, funded by earmarked revenues from the premiums paid for additional emissions under the proposed regulations.

The Dalli report also calls for greater powers to the European Commission to develop tests that measure the real driving emissions for CO2 to get a clearer picture of the situation. Car manufacturer tests are done in controlled environments that do not necessarily reflect emissions in real driving situations.

Dalli told MEPs the EU faced a clear choice: it can either continue to drag its feet and let others take over or start to address the issue of innovation now. “Standards for new cars and vans so far have always been a strong driver for innovation and efficiency in automotive technology.”

Dalli said she was convinced the EU industry did not want to lose its technological leadership.

Discussions on the report are expected to continue before leading to comprehensive legislation.


More in Europe