24 October 2007

The European Parliament has adopted a report that calls for legislation to cap average CO2 emissions from all new passenger cars at 125 g/km as of 2015. The limit should be met through engine and vehicle technology alone, without relying on other CO2 saving measures, such as biofuels, special tires, or improvements in air conditioning systems. To ensure that the limit is met, binding annual emission targets should be set with effect from 2011.

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In comparison to the earlier CO2 emission proposal by the European Commission, the target date has been moved from 2012 to 2015, but the target limit is more stringent (the Commission’s proposal called for a 130 g/km emission limit through engine and vehicle technology).

About 19% of EU CO2 emissions are produced by passenger cars and light-commercial vehicles. The Parliament’s report calls the automotive industry’s voluntary commitment to reduce emissions a failure. Despite the fact that “the technology is there to make a significant difference in a short period of time”, noted rapporteur Chris Davies (ALDE, UK), “industry has stalled in reducing CO2 emissions”. Average emissions from cars placed on the EU market in 2008 are likely to be in excess of 150 g/km, according to the report, way short of the voluntary ACEA target of 140 g/km.

As of 2020, reads the report, the average CO2 emissions should not exceed 95 g/km. Long-term targets should be determined by no later than 2016: these targets “will possibly require further emissions reductions to 70 g CO2/km or less by 2025”.

Legislative proposals and measures should be also developed to ensure that additional emission reductions of at least 10 g/km can be achieved by means of complementary measures taken as part of the integrated approach, such as the use of biofuels. In order to minimize risks that the increased use of biofuels will increase the price of food and feed, seriously affecting people on very low incomes and accelerating the destruction of tropical rainforests, the report calls on the Commission to propose strict certification rules for imported biofuels so as to avoid any negative social and ecological impact.

Source: European Parliament