September 7, 2018 / 1:55 PM / 2 months ago

EU lawmakers set to back 45 percent cut target for CO2 from cars and vans by 2030

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - EU lawmakers are set to back a more ambitious carbon dioxide reduction target for fleets of cars and vans of 45 percent by 2030 on Monday, EU sources said on Friday.

FILE PHOTO: Cars drive along a road in central Brussels March 8, 2007. REUTERS/Yves Herman/File Photo

The draft rules to be voted on in the European Parliament’s Environment Committee on Monday evening would also set an interim goal of a 20 percent reduction by 2025.

Sources say the proposed revision of the EU executive’s initial draft target of 30 percent by 2030 is backed by a majority of lawmakers in the committee, which tends to push for more ambitious climate legislation than the assembly as a whole.

But the European People’s Party (EPP), the biggest bloc in the chamber, favors the European Commission’s original proposal.

“It is not an easy legislation,” lawmaker Miriam Dalli, who is sheperding the bill through the assembly, told Reuters.

“Transport is the only major sector in the union where greenhouse gas emissions are still rising ... we are thus aiming for a 45 percent reduction in CO2 emissions by 2030.”

The EU’s new rules aim to help meet the bloc’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. They will introduce a credit system for carmakers to encourage the rollout of electric vehicles and fines for exceeding CO2 limits.

FILE PHOTO: A car drives near the Eiffel tower in Paris, March 14, 2014. REUTERS/Charles Platiau/File Photo

A plenary session of parliament expected next month must still approve the assembly’s position in order to enter what will be tough talks with the bloc’s 28 governments on a final law, as nations with big automotive industries fear stricter rules could cost growth and jobs.

Volkswagen’s (VOWG_p.DE) admission to U.S. regulators in 2015 that it had masked tailpipe exhaust using software in as many as 11 million diesel vehicles sold worldwide has galvanized EU regulators into setting tougher climate rules.

CHARGED DEBATE

When a recent EU study showed that carmakers were cheating new EU pollution checks to avoid a repeat of the Dieselgate scandal, many in Brussels voiced frustration.

To tackle the problem, EU lawmakers have added an amendment calling laboratory emissions tests to be checked against on-road ones or, failing that, readings from fuel consumption meters.

Other proposed amendments are still being debated by lawmakers. These include whether renewable fuels will be allowed to count toward zero-emission targets and whether to allow industry to combine their targets for cars and vans.

European automakers association ACEA has called for laxer CO2 limits, saying poor infrastructure and an underdeveloped consumer market limit their ability to sell more electric cars.

“We cannot push these electric cars down people’s throats,” said ACEA Secretary General Erik Jonnaert, calling for a 20 percent reduction target.

Climate groups, however, say it is up to automakers to do more to market electric vehicles.

A study by clean mobility group Transport and Environment published on Friday found most electric vehicles are charged at home, with only five percent using public charging points.

Reporting by Alissa de Carbonnel, Additional reporting by Phil Blenkinsop, Editing by William Maclean

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