EU pushes back CO2 targets for new cars

27th November 2013

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Car manufacturers will have an extra 12 months to meet EU restrictions on carbon emissions from new vehicles, after member states negotiate compromise with MEPs

Under current European legislation (Regulation EC/443/2009), automotive manufacturers have to reduce the amount of CO2 emitted by new cars to 95g/km by 2020.

However, after months of political wrangling by council members over the 2020 deadline, led by Germany, the European parliament has agreed to a compromise that will mean only 95% of new cars will have to meet the 95gCO2/km target by 2020, with carmakers given until 2021 to ensure all vehicles meet the target.

The informal agreement has also changed rules with regards “super credits”, potentially allowing companies to offset more emissions from higher polluting cars in 2020.

Super credits mean that each car emitting 50gCO2/km or less will be counted as two vehicles in a manufacturer’s fleet in 2020, 1.67 in 2021 and 1.33 in 2022. This enables carmakers to reduce the average emissions of their fleet.

To prevent super credits from undermining potential carbon reductions, in June the European parliament set a limit on the use of super-credits at 2.5g per year. However, the new agreement states that manufacturers are able to claim credits of 7.5g between 2020–22, enabling them to claim three years’ credits in one year if they want.

Matthias Groote, chair of the European parliament’s environment committee, warned that members states’ attitude towards negotiating a delay to the targets set a “dangerous precedent”.

“We regret that some member states in the council have tried to delay confirmation of a deal,” he said. “This could have dragged the procedure out until the next parliament, while the automotive sector needs long-term certainty for its investments.

“We must ensure that this doesn’t happen again. Parliament has done its job, and we now expect the council to do likewise.”

The new agreement also means that manufacturers registering less than 1,000 cars in the EU each year are exempt from meeting any emissions target.

The member states did agree, however, that a 2025 target on emissions from new vehicles should be set by 2015.

Under EU targets average new car emissions must be less than 130gCO2/km in 2015. In 2012, average emissions from new cars in the UK stood at 133gCO2/km.

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