Environment Council agree to 35% cut in car CO2 emissions by 2030 amid ministers' 'disappointment'

MEP Miriam Dalli expresses commitment not to give up on ambition ahead of interinstitutional negotiations 

(File Photo)
(File Photo)

European Union Environment ministers on Tuesday agreed to cut CO2 emissions from cars and vans by 35% and 30% respectively.

In a tweet following a late-night agreement on the targets, Dalli, who is piloting a proposal to lower CO2 emissions from vehicles, said she was “energized to negotiate strongly on behalf of the European Parliament and the ENVI committee”.

At 35%, and while not altogether final, the agreed upon targets are lower than was originally proposed. Dalli originally sought a 50% reduction in emissions by 2030, significantly higher than the 30% originally proposed by the European Commission.

A number of countries, most notably, Denmark, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Slovenia and Sweden, also expressed disappointment at the agreement. In a statement, they said that “general agreement reached did  not reflect the desire for greater ambition so may ministers had voiced”.

“The target reductions agreed here will allow the EU manufacturing industry to lose momentum at a time when the industry worldwide is on the brink of transformative change,” read the statement, adding that the pace of transition to zero and low emissions cars in Europe has bee “too slow”.

“This regulation should provide us with the means and the opportunity to address this,” it added.  

Last month, the parliament’s ENVI committee accepted Dalli’s proposal for a 45% cut, with the European parliament last week last week approving a 40% target by 389 votes in favour and 239 against.

The proposal has been fought by car manufacturers as well as some member states, including Germany and the Visegrad states, which fiercely resisted targets higher than the 30% proposed by the Commission.

The proposals from the European Council include a 15% reduction target for cars and vans by 2025 and a 30% van target for 2030. Additionally, countries with low GDP will receive an extra bonus for selling low and zero emissions vehicles. Notably an exemption from the proposal for niche manufactures that produce up to 3,000 cars was extended.  

The Council, Commission and Parliament representatives will now negotiate a final set of rules that will be part of a long-term climate strategy for 2050, which is set to be announced on 28 November.

In addition to emissions cuts, Dalli's proposal also includes realistic CO2 emissions testing using portable devices which would be implemented within two years. It also includes a better understanding of cars’ fuel-cycle analysis with the aim of rewarding cleaner technologies.  

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