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EU upholds tough CO2 targets

Carmakers fail to reduce EU's CO2 emission targets

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Environmental campaigners claimed a victory over carmakers, with the news that Euro MPs have rejected car industry pleas for more time to meet tough CO2 targets.

All volume car manufacturers must cut their ‘fleet average’ CO2 emissions from 158g/km today to 130g/km in four years’ time, after a surprise decision by the EU Environment Committee.

These averages are calculated across a carmakers’ entire range, weighted by volume of sales. Therefore, this challenge is harder to meet for luxury car manufacturers such as BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

Conversely, mainstream manufacturers such as Renault and Ford are much closer to the target, thanks to their smaller, more fuel-efficient cars.

Tougher targets for 2020

Even tougher targets are planned for 2020, when manufacturers must achieve an average of just 95g/km. Euro MPs also voted against weaker fines and penalties for those manufacturers who exceed these targets.

The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) lobbied MEPs to vote against the proposals, claiming they will threaten car manufacturing jobs across Europe.

ACEA spokesman Ivan Hodac said: ‘The Environment Committee has given a wrong signal today. This is bad news for Europe, especially with the overall economic circumstances deteriorating already.’

More negotiation to come

Insiders feel there may be more manoeuvring behind the scenes before the EU gets to vote on these proposals in full, as influential centre-right members move to protect the luxury car industry, particularly in Germany.

But environmental campaigners feared the ACEA’s lobbying would dilute the proposals. ‘MEPs chose to resist strong pressure from the car industry lobby and supported most of the Commission’s proposed measures to cut emissions from cars,’ Greenpeace EU transport campaigner, Franziska Achterberg, said.

‘Today’s vote could herald the first effective EU law to limit our impact on the climate. We’re delighted that MEPs opposed weaker penalties for non-compliance.’

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