EU to Set CO2 Emission Limits for New Cars

The EU Commission wants 30 percent less CO2 emissions from new cars to the displeasure of the EU Parliament. That has now demanded a mark of 40 percent within this value, it goes into the negotiation with the governments. In the dispute over new climate protection requirements for cars, other EU countries have increased the pressure on Germany to accept strict limits on carbon dioxide for 2030.

Around 20 of the 28 member states demanded specifications for new cars and vans, which would go beyond a reduction of CO2 emissions by 30 percent by 2030. Even countries with major automotive industries such as France, Spain or Italy advocated a rapid switch to less harmful vehicles.

Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze called 30 percent as the maximum agreed by the federal government. 30 percent reduction corresponds to the proposal of the European Commission. The European Parliament demands 40 percent. Austria as the current EU Presidency proposed a compromise of 35 percent. Ireland even demanded a 50 percent reduction.

Despite the far apart positions, Schulze was optimistic that there would be an agreement by evening. She acknowledged that she personally considers a 30% reduction on environmental and industrial policy grounds insufficient especially after the presentation of the IPCC report the day before. “I would have liked that we do more here,” said the SPD politician. Nevertheless, she represents as agreed on the position of the Federal Government.

The European Parliament has called for a significant reduction in CO2 emissions from new cars. Strasbourg MPs voted to cut Europe-wide limits on climate-damaging gas by 40 percent by 2030.

“This is a success all along the line,” said the transport spokesman for the Social Democrats in the European Parliament, Ismail Ertug. This would protect the climate, but at the same time jobs and added value could be kept in Europe. More ambitious demands of the Greens and the Environment Committee did not find a majority.

In doing so, the Parliament is aiming for more ambitious goals than the European Commission, which proposed a reduction of 30 percent. Germany, with its high-turnover auto industry, joined the Brussels course recently after the Federal Environment Ministry abandoned its call for stricter highs.

Before new regulations can be introduced in a binding manner, the EU Parliament must agree with the Member States. The EU environment ministers want to set their position on Tuesday.

Spanish Environment Minister Teresa Ribera said that more ambitious goals are better, but it is essential to reach an agreement. “We do not want to intensify the differences,” warned her French counterpart François de Rugy.

On the other hand, sharp opposition to more ambitious goals and support for Germany came from Hungary and Bulgaria. The representatives of both countries described the Commission proposal on Tuesday as “extremely ambitious” and warned of consequences for the industry.

The decision is very important for the auto industry. Because it’s about average values of a manufacturer’s fleet: the stricter the requirements, the greater the need to sell many vehicles without emissions – for example, pure electric cars – to compensate for the emission of gasoline or diesel.

Chancellor Angela Merkel had insisted on not burdening the German car industry too much. The government fears job losses if the transition to new drives is completed too quickly.

Even if a compromise among the EU countries succeeds, another hurdle awaits: an agreement must then be negotiated with the European Parliament. The ministers also want to tie in Luxembourg the EU negotiating a position for the next World Climate Change Conference in Poland in December also a very controversial topic.

Supriya Bhor

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