Brussels seeks 15% cut in truck carbon emissions

14 May 2018 | Mitigation

Brussels is to propose a 15 per cent cut to trucks’ emissions within seven years, rejecting calls from companies, campaigners and some EU member states for more ambitious targets to help meet climate change commitments.

Transport produces a quarter of EU carbon emissions and is the only area of the bloc’s economy in which emissions are still growing, after cuts in sectors such as electricity and agriculture.

The EU committed in the Paris climate accord to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent by 2030. Lorries make up about 5 per cent of the vehicles on EU roads but generate nearly a quarter of emissions, making them an important target of the bloc’s carbon reduction efforts.

The European Commission will on Wednesday vote on a plan for a 15 per cent cut in so-called heavy-duty trucks’ carbon dioxide emissions by 2025 and a 30 per cent cut by 2030, according to two people aware of the draft proposals that have been prepared. 

The proposals will offer incentives to encourage truckmakers to manufacture zero-emission vehicles but will not include mandatory production targets.

The goals can be reassessed in 2022 in light of progress and technological developments.

The European Parliament and national governments will need to approve the new rules, which echo the commission's proposal for passenger vehicles made in November. 

If the proposals for trucks are approved it will be the first time the EU has set binding limits for heavy-duty vehicles’ carbon dioxide emissions. 

Europe approved CO2 limits for passenger vehicles in 2009 and light commercial vehicles in 2011, which came into force in 2015 and 2017, respectively.

However, an unusual alliance of campaigners, retailers, food producers, haulage companies and some member states, including the Netherlands, Ireland and Lithuania, have urged a more aggressive 24 per cent reduction by 2025.

They also want the commission to introduce binding targets for zero-emission vehicles. Stientje van Veldhoven, Dutch state secretary for infrastructure, said a higher target would be “cost effective”. “To keep the support of our populations in this enormous transition [to meet the Paris targets] . . . you need look at what are the cost effective options and you need to exploit those to the full,” she said. “If we don’t reduce in transport . . . we are going to have to do it somewhere else and we are going to make it more expensive than necessary.” 

Cleaner trucks use less fuel which makes them cheaper for hauliers to operate. If manufacturers were obliged to consistently use existing technology, a lorry could be 27 per cent more efficient, saving €7,700 per truck annually and paying back the investment in a little over one year, according to the International Council on Clean Transportation. 

The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association has proposed a 7 per cent reduction in on-the-road emissions by 2025. It said this was “quite challenging” because product development for 2025 vehicles was under way.

But Maros Sefcovic, EU energy vice-president, said the 7 per cent target “clearly lacked ambition”. He declined to confirm the 2025 target of 15 per cent but said: “The 2025 target can be met by using existing solutions: they are being applied already, just not consistently.” Brussels sees encouraging European industrial leadership as a key principle behind the proposal.

Canada, China, Japan and the US already have emissions standards for heavy-duty vehicles. Mr Sefcovic said: “We are giving the manufacturers a heads-up [to] get ready because by the time the 2030 target kicks in, new technologies are expected in the [trucks] market . . . and we want our industry to be in the tech and innovation lead globally.”  “Competition in the global market is fierce,” said Miguel Canete, EU environment commissioner.



Source: Financial Times