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.


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