The Malta Independent 23 May 2018, Wednesday

MEP Miriam Dalli presents ambitious proposals to reduce new vehicle CO2 emissions across EU

Kevin Schembri Orland Wednesday, 16 May 2018, 10:55 Last update: about 7 days ago

Labour MEP Miriam Dalli today presented very ambitious proposals to reduce CO2 emissions from new vehicles in the coming years, however some representatives from other EU political groups questioned how realistic and achievable the goals are.

She is leading the European Parliament in its negotiations on the European Unionʾs car emission standards beyond 2020, considered as one of the most critical EU legislations that can help reduce emissions across the EU.

The draft regulation tries to address three key problems: insufficient uptake of electric and low-emissions vehicles; the possibility that consumers might be missing out on fuel savings; and the EU´s risk of losing its competitive advantage due to insufficient innovation in low-emission automotive technologies.

Dalli suggests in her report, which she today presented to the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety in the EU Parliament, proposes emission reduction targets for new road vehicles of 25% by 2025 and 50% by 2030. This particular proposal saw criticism, with a number of other MEPs calling for more realistic goals.

She explained that In the absence of a new mandatory 2025 target, no car manufacturer will have the required incentive to move away from the 95g/km target that has to be achieved by 2021. “A 2025 interim target provides clarity and is a clear strong signal for car manufacturers to act.”

She said that the European Commission’s 30% CO2 reduction target for new cars would only result in a 24% reduction (by 2030) in CO2 – from the road transport sector as a whole – under the Effort Sharing Regulation. “Having a 50% CO2 reduction for new cars in 2030 edges the EU closer to what was agreed upon in the Effort Sharing Regulation for the Road Transport Sector. Expecting from the transport sector only 18%–19% CO2 reduction by 2030 is not enough.”

She said that stricter CO2 targets, together with efficient mechanisms supporting Zero and Low-emission vehicles (ZLEVs), are a prerequisite for creating a strong and stable home market for ZLEVs that will have positive impact on the European economy and consumers.

Turning to the economic benefits of her proposals, she spoke of the reduction in EU dependence on imported oil and petroleum products, and shift demand towards domestically produced energy and electricity. She also mentioned the potential for green automotive battery cells to be manufactured within Europe, adding that it is estimated that the global market for batteries can reach €250 billion per year by 2025.

Turning to consumers, she said: “consumers will pay more for cleaner vehicles, but they will be paying much less in the long run to fuel their vehicles. Maintenance costs are also cheaper, both for first and second-hand vehicle owners. Different studies show clearly that there is higher net benefits for consumers with more ambitious targets.”

Dalli is asking for a better-designed and further harmonised EU car labelling including information concerning air pollutants, CO2 emissions and fuel consumption.

The report urges for the rapid deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure “and both public and private investments have to be encouraged and mobilized.”

While the switch from NEDC (last updated in 1997, this ‘New European Driving Cycle’ was designed to assess the emission levels of car engines and fuel economy in passenger cars) to WLTP (Worldwide Light duty vehicle Test Procedure) is likely to give more representative type approval CO2 emission figures, it is not expected to completely close the gap with real-world CO2 emissions.”

Dalli is proposing to empower the European Commission to develop an RDE (Real Driving Emissions) for CO2 emissions and, until such RDE test becomes applicable, asks for compliance checks by using data from fuel consumption meters and have a fixed not-to-exceed limit. “For the longer term, we need to have a clear understanding of the overall life-cycle emissions of the various fuel types through a common methodology that analysis well-to-tank and tank-to-wheel emissions.”

The EPP shadow rapporteur questioned whether the 2030 targets were realistic, and whether such proposals could see agreement in the Parliament, stating that more realistic proposals are needed.

The ECR rapporteur also agreed that there was a need for realistic and achievable targets. He mentioned that the EU Commission’s targets were difficult to achieve, and that to increase the target in the same timespan is not feasible.

The GUE rapporteur questioned how one could suggest increasing the goals so much over what was agreed upon with the industry, noting in the past that situations arose when unachievable goals were imposed. She mentioned that member states were not doing enough to promote clean and energy efficient vehicles, and spoke of the need for more alternative technologies as well.

Some other rapporteurs and speakers noted that Dalli was working hard to improve the situation in Europe through the matter, and highlighted that such measures are possibly doable.

An EU Commission representative said that through the European Commission’s original proposals, they tried to find a balance. Turning to the targets, the representative said that the Commission wants to be in line with the EU Paris agreement, adding that this proposal is in line with that commitment. He mentioned that the reskilling of people, the change in factories and systems would need to happen much quicker to reach the 50% target. He said the 30% proposed by the Commission was for there to be a smooth transition.

Miriam Dalli, concluding, mentioned a number of countries who have already indicated that they ill cut out petrol vehicles, and calls for stronger CO2 reduction targets. She also mentioned that car companies themselves have indicated their move toward electric as well.

Either the EU drags its feet or starts being innovative now.”

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