The auto industry in europe must prepare for stricter climate protection targets than expected.
EU countries agreed late tuesday night that new cars should emit an average of 35 percent less carbon dioxide in 2030 than in 2020. Germany supported the target, although it went beyond the federal government’s original wishes. She only wanted a 30 percent reduction.
"It was really, really difficult today," said environment minister svenja schulze after the negotiations, which lasted around 13 hours. At least there is now a common position of the EU states for the negotiations with the european parliament. These are to begin as early as this wednesday. EU climate commissioner miguel arias canete also spoke of a "difficult birth".
The ministers had spent the whole day negotiating how much the emission of the greenhouse gas CO2 in new cars in the EU must fall in the next decade. The EU commission had proposed a 30 percent reduction compared to 2020 – a figure that the german auto industry considered feasible. The german government joined in, as did some eastern EU countries.
However, many other countries wanted a reduction of 40 percent or more. Austria, which currently holds the EU presidency, made a compromise plea for a 35 percent reduction, which it ultimately accepted. The interim goal is to achieve at least 15 percent by 2025. However, a number of special clauses have been agreed, such as incentives for the introduction of low- or zero-emission cars in poorer EU countries and special rules for niche manufacturers.
In the end, 20 of the 28 EU member states voted in favor of the compromise, four states were against it and four others abstained, as the austrian environment minister elisabeth kostinger said. It was highly satisfied with the agreement. This will "put clean mobility in europe on the fast track," kostinger said.
However, several countries had called for more ambition on climate change and expressed deep disappointment, including ireland, sweden, luxembourg and the netherlands. SPD member of the european parliament ismail ertug recalled that the european parliament has set further targets: the members also want a 40 percent reduction in CO2 levels by 2030. So more difficult negotiations were allowed to ensue to ultimately get the legislation passed.
The targets are intended to help achieve the european union’s climate goals as a whole and to reduce emissions from road traffic. The decision is of major importance for the automotive industry.
So far, the EU has stipulated that new cars should emit no more than 95 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometer on fleet average in 2020. From this basis, the reduction is to follow. Stringent targets mean that manufacturers will have to sell many zero-emission vehicles in addition to diesel and gasoline cars to meet their overall cut – for example, pure electric cars. Federal government fears job losses if switch to new powertrains is completed too quickly.
At the EU meeting, however, many environment ministers argued differently – for example, the representatives of spain, the netherlands, france and great britain. A rapid transformation of the auto industry is necessary in the competition with china and will create new jobs, they argue. Luxembourg secretary of state claude turmes attacked germany head-on: chancellor angela merkel was "driving climate protection up the wall" for the benefit of german carmakers, the former green european deputy said.
Germany, together with the eastern visegrad countries, has prevented a more ambitious solution, complained the transport& association environment. The compromise is far too little to slow down the dangerous climate change.