EU compromise is reached on CO2 emissions of cars

Following complicated talks, environment ministers agree 35% reduction by 2030

The EU environment ministers at their more than 13-hours-meeting in Luxembourg on Tuesday agreed to seek a 35% cut in car emissions by 2030, news wires reported. "We saw a really complicated discussion," Europe's Climate Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete said of the compromise that gained the support of 20 nations, with 4 voting against and 4 abstaining. "I never believed in the beginning that such a strong support would be obtained."

The agreement is a further step towards new legislation on CO2 emissions. The final rules will now be hashed out in talks beginning on Wednesday with the EU's two other lawmaking bodies: the European Parliament, which is seeking a more ambitious climate target, and the European Commission, which proposed a lower one, Reuters pointed out.

Several countries had sought a higher, 40% reduction in car emissions, in line with targets backed by EU lawmakers last week, but softened their position in talks. However, Ireland and the Netherlands were among those who voiced disappointment with the compromise deal, which also set a 30% target for cutting emissions from vans by 2030. Germany, with its big auto sector, had backed an EU executive proposal for a 30% cut for fleets of new cars and vans by 2030, compared with 2021 levels.

Germany had the backing of several eastern European nations early in the talks against more ambitious targets, EU sources told Reuters. But a last-minute amendment helped ease concerns over the new rules, which also create a crediting system encouraging carmakers to raise sales of electric cars. It would allow for a different accounting in countries where the current market penetration of zero- and low-emissions vehicles is less than 60% below the average in the bloc.

Curbs on the transport sector, the only industry in which emissions are still rising, aim to help the bloc meet its goal of reducing greenhouse gases by at least 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.

In a joint statement earlier, the EU ministers expressed deep concern over a UN report calling for rapid and unprecedented action to contain global warming and renewed commitment to the 2015 Paris climate accord.


Similar articles

  • Divorce deal is not open for rethink

    Divorce deal is not open for rethink

    On 19 December the Commission will publish a set of Brexit preparedness measures, including for no-deal scenario

    At their last for this year European Council sitting, held in Brussels on 13 and 14 December, the EU leaders had a lot of pressing issues on their plates, starting with the common long-term budget for 2021-2027, migration, completion of the Single Market and the Economic and Monetary Union, among the long list of items. But they also had to put Brexit again on the table, just 19 days after they endorsed the Withdrawal Agreement and the Political Declaration, because in London the divorce deal was challenged not only from opponents of the government, but also from some Tory party members.

  • Wanted: Fairer rules for truck drivers and hauliers

    Wanted: Fairer rules for truck drivers and hauliers

    The European Council agrees its position on the highly contested reform

    The European Council presented its general approach on a key reform of the road transport sector, which includes drivers' working conditions, special posting rules for drivers in international transport, access to the haulage market, and improved enforcement. The reform is designed to ensure a balance between adequate working conditions for drivers and the freedom to provide cross-border services for operators, the Council said in its press release. It will also provide clarity for the sector and put an end to divergent national interpretations of rules.

  • Leaders called the agreement with London the best possible

    Leaders called the agreement with London the best possible

    At their special summit on Sunday morning in Brussels the leaders of the EU 27 sealed the withdrawal agreement of London from the EU and the European Atomic Energy Community, and also signed a Political Declaration that sets the direction of the future relations between the two sides. After doing this they held a short meeting with British Prime Minister Theresa May. It is expected the divorce deal to guarantee a smooth departure of the UK on 30 March 2019.