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European Parliament backs 35% CO2 emissions cuts for trucks by 2030

15 November 2018

In a plenary vote, the European Parliament has backed plans to cut CO2 emissions from heavy-duty vehicles. MEPs adopted a target of 35% for new trucks to reduce the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, with an intermediate target of 20% by 2025.

These targets are consistent with the ENVI Committee proposal adopted last month, and are higher compared to the original proposal by the European Commission, which called for a 30% reduction by 2030, and a 15% reduction by 2025. These reduction targets are relative to actual CO2 emissions in 2019.

Under the Parliament’s position, manufacturers will also have to ensure that zero- and low-emission vehicles (ZLEV)—defined as vehicles that emit at least 50% less CO2 than a reference value for a given vehicle category—represent a 20% market share of the sales of new ones by 2030, and 5% by 2025. These ZLEV targets would be implemented via a benchmark system, which would include a ‘malus’ to penalize manufacturers who do not sell the mandatory ZLEV quota. This ZLEV benchmark system replaces a ‘super-credit’ mechanism originally proposed by the Commission.

Before 2020, the Commission should also come up with plans for a real-world CO2 emissions test for on-road emissions. In its 2022 report, the Commission should consider assessing CO2 emissions produced by heavy-duty vehicles during their full life-cycle, and propose, if necessary, reporting obligations for manufacturers.

Parliament adopted its position with 373 votes to 285 and 16 abstentions. The MEPs will now enter into negotiations with the Council of Ministers.

These ambitious CO2 targets and ZLEV vehicle quotas carry economic risks for the EU automotive and other industries. The MEPs acknowledged that a “socially acceptable and balanced transition to zero-emission mobility requires changes throughout the automotive value chain, with a possible negative social impact”. The EU should therefore assist workers in the sector learning new skills and reallocating, particularly in regions and communities most affected by the transition, said the MEPs.

The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA)—which represents the EU’s seven major truck producers—said in a statement that it is “highly concerned about the outcome of the European Parliament’s plenary vote”.

Erik Jonnaert, ACEA Secretary General, said: “MEPs seem to be blatantly ignoring the fact that the potential for electrifying the truck fleet is far lower than for cars, due to issues such as extremely high upfront costs, range limitations, insufficient infrastructure—particularly along motorways—as well as reluctant customers.”

Heavy-duty vehicles are responsible for 27% of road transport CO2 emissions and almost 5% of EU greenhouse gas emissions (2016 data). Since 1990, heavy-duty vehicle emissions have increased by 25%—mainly as a result of an increase in road freight traffic—and, in the absence of new policies, they are projected to increase further.

Source: European Parliament