Carmakers warn against tough emissions caps ahead of EU vote

FILE PHOTO: Cars and trucks are stuck in a traffic jam near Irschenberg, Germany, March 29, 2018. REUTERS/Michael Dalder/File Photo

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European carmakers’ lobby on Monday warned that excessively steep cuts in carbon dioxide emissions limits on cars and vans could harm the industry and cost jobs ahead of a vote by the European Parliament on the new targets.

EU lawmakers will vote on Wednesday on imposing a stricter CO2 limit of 45 percent by 2030 than the EU executive’s initial proposals of 30 percent - setting the stage for tough talks with national governments this year on the final law.

“The more aggressive the CO2 reduction targets are, the more disruptive the socio-economic impacts will be,” Erik Jonnaert, the head of the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA), said in a statement.

Weighing in on a clash between concerns about industry competitiveness and climate goals, ACEA said that tougher limits could slow growth in a sector which it said employs over six percent of EU workers.

“The stakes of Wednesday’s vote are extremely high for the entire sector,” Jonnaert said.

He added that while carmakers are investing in electric vehicles, sales are still low, and governments should invest more in charging infrastructure and buy-side incentives.

Environment campaigners, however, say that ambitious targets for the transport sector - the only one where greenhouse gas emissions are still rising - are needed to meet the bloc’s overall climate goal of reducing pollution by 40 percent by 2030 compared to 1990 levels.

“It will be a big battle to maintain minus 45 (percent) on the table,” said EU lawmaker Bas Eickhout, a member of the Green group, which has pushed for the higher targets in European Parliament.

Reporting by Daphne Psaledakis, Editing by Alissa de Carbonnel, William Maclean