Wednesday

3rd Jun 2020

EU states set for clash over CO2 caps for cars

  • The potential penalities for car manufacturers as well as a timetable for the CO2 reduction plans have to be agreed (Photo: EUobserver)

EU environment ministers are set for another battle over plans to reduce car emissions, as the Slovene EU presidency has suggested that new passenger cars entering the market in 2020 should have a mandatory carbon dioxide (CO2) emission cap of 95 grammes/km.

Later today (5 June), all 27 ministers will meet in Luxembourg to discuss a report by Slovenia, specifying ways in which EU member states want clamp down on the CO2 emissions of European car fleets.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

According to the document, seen by EUobserver, the presidency has proposed "setting a roadmap towards reaching the long-term target of 95 grammes/km by the year 2020". It argues that "a vast majority of delegations favoured, in principle, the introduction of long-term objectives".

This goal would mean an expansion of the ambitions tabled by the commission last year, under which the average CO2 emissions of new cars must be reduced to 130 grammes/km from 2012.

But EU states are divided on the matter.

"Some delegations support the presidency amendment, [while] others would prefer to avoid making reference to a concrete figure since there is no solid scientific basis, at this stage, to determine what could be feasible and appropriate," the paper says.

According to the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association, the "out of the blue" emission cap of 95 grammes/km is "wrong and technically impossible to achieve". "Any target must be based on an impact assessment," the ACEA's chief Ivan Hodac told EUobserver.

However, Greenpeace transport campaigner Franziska Achterberg welcomed the suggestion. "We're happy to have the long-term goal," she told Reuters, but added that "it's not much, given that every other move is about weakening or delaying the proposals."

Other sticking points - calendar and penalties

The calendar - whether to stick to the commission-proposed 2012 as the year when the 130 grammes/km cap should become mandatory - is among issues that need to be sorted out by EU environment ministers.

Some national capitals prefer to start in 2015, while others are pushing for a gradual implementation from 2012 to 2015. This means that the cap would apply only to a "certain percentage" of the car fleet in 2012 and to 100 percent of the car fleet in 2015.

"Such a transition period reflects the true reality of the industry," Mr Hodac said, adding that 70 percent of cars to be marketed in 2012 are in the final stage of production.

Question marks also hang over the level of possible penalties imposed when industry fails to meet the mandatory target. Under the commission proposal, if the binding target is missed, manufacturers will be fined €20 per gramme over the limit in 2012, rising to €35 in 2013, €60 in 2014, and €95 in 2015.

According to the presidency report, some member states want to lower the sanctions, while others want to apply penalties with a certain degree of flexibility, depending on how far the emissions are from the target.

Governments also differ when it comes whether revenues collected via penalties should be reverted to the EU's budget or become part of national coffers.

In addition, the so-called 'slope of the curve' - defining how to share the burden between different car manufacturers - needs to be hammered out. Germany, chief producer of large, heavy vehicles, is clashing with Italy and France, whose carmakers produce lighter, more energy-efficient automobiles.

Feature

Beethoven vs Virus: How his birthplace Bonn is coping

Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, Bonn cancelled Beethoven: the much-anticipated 'Beethovenfest', as well as numerous concerts, exhibits and theatre performances were called off, some of the events were rescheduled for 2021.

News in Brief

  1. Trump threatens to use army to crush unrest in US
  2. Trump wants Russia back in G7-type group
  3. Iran: Fears of second wave as corona numbers rise again
  4. WHO: Overuse of antibiotics to strengthen bacterial resistance
  5. Orban calls EU Commission recovery plan 'absurd'
  6. ABBA's Björn new president of authors' rights federation
  7. Malta and Libya to create anti-migrant 'units'
  8. France reopening bars and parks next week

Feature

Beethoven vs Virus: How his birthplace Bonn is coping

Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, Bonn cancelled Beethoven: the much-anticipated 'Beethovenfest', as well as numerous concerts, exhibits and theatre performances were called off, some of the events were rescheduled for 2021.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAHow reducing sugar and calories in soft drinks makes the healthier choice the easy choice
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersGreen energy to power Nordic start after Covid-19
  3. European Sustainable Energy WeekThis year’s EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) will be held digitally!
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic states are fighting to protect gender equality during corona crisis
  5. UNESDACircularity works, let’s all give it a chance
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers call for post-corona synergies between economic recovery and green transition

Latest News

  1. Malta fiddles on migrants, as Libya burns
  2. Borrell: EU doesn't need to choose between US and China
  3. Post-Brexit and summer travel talks This WEEK
  4. State-level espionage on EU tagged as 'Very High Threat'
  5. Beethoven vs Virus: How his birthplace Bonn is coping
  6. EU's new migration pact must protect people on the move
  7. Spain takes 'giant step' on guaranteed minimum income
  8. Vestager hits back at Lufthansa bailout criticism

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us