EU aims to cut CO2 emissions from trucks by a third by 2030

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - New large trucks in the European Union will have to emit at least 30 percent less CO2 by 2030 than in 2019 under the bloc’s first ever CO2 standards for trucks proposed on Thursday that the industry said were “far too aggressive”.

FILE PHOTO: Cars and trucks are stuck in a traffic jam near Irschenberg, Germany July 28, 2017. REUTERS/Michaela Rehle//File Photo

The EU currently has no limits on the CO2 produced by trucks, which account for a quarter of all road transport emissions while making up just 5 percent of vehicles on the road.

Countries such as the United States, China, Japan and Canada have already set targets to reduce truck CO2 emissions.

The European Commission has proposed an interim CO2 reduction target of 15 percent by 2025 for all large trucks compared to 2019 levels. By 2030 trucks will have to emit at least 30 percent less CO2 than in 2019.

Europe’s auto lobby ACEA said the reduction levels proposed were “far too aggressive”.

“It would seem as though the Commission has simply taken the exact CO2 reduction levels it already proposed for cars and vans, and applied them directly to heavy-duty vehicles, without fully recognizing the fundamental differences between these vehicle segments,” Erik Jonnaert, ACEA Secretary General, said.

ACEA had lobbied for a 16 percent tail-pipe CO2 reduction between 2019 and 2030, with an intermediate target of 7 percent in 2025.

Large trucks account for around 65-70 percent of all CO2 emissions from heavy-duty vehicles in the EU, which also include smaller trucks, buses and coaches.

The Commission will conduct a review in 2022 to extend the standards to other types of heavy-duty vehicles and determine their target for 2030.

The EU by 2030 wants to cut emissions across all sectors of the economy by at least 40 percent versus 1990 levels. Thursday’s proposal follows new draft rules on CO2 standards for cars.

“All sectors must contribute to meet our climate commitments under the Paris Agreement,” said Miguel Arias Canete, EU Commissioner for climate action and energy. “That’s why, for the first time ever, we are proposing EU standards to increase fuel efficiency and reduce emissions from new heavy-duty vehicles.”

Environmental campaign group Transport & Environment (T&E) said the proposed targets fell short of what was needed to hit the EU’s own climate goals.

Some EU countries and hauliers had called for a 2025 target of at least 24 percent and a 2030 target of 34-45 percent.

Stef Cornelis, cleaner trucks officer with T&E, said the proposed standards mean “a lot of cost-effective clean technologies won’t be fitted to new trucks, which will result in truckers and the climate missing out on big savings.”

The Commission expects its targets to save around 54 million tonnes of CO2 from 2020 to 2030, equivalent to the total annual emissions of Sweden.

The proposal will need to be approved by EU governments and the European Parliament before becoming law.

The Commission also proposed an action plan for the production of battery cells for electric cars as part of its drive to slash transport emissions.

Europe lags behind countries such as China, South Korea and Japan in the production of batteries for electric vehicles and the European car industry has warned that the rush to electric cars would hand even more business to those countries.

The Commission’s measures include support for securing access to the raw materials needed to build batteries, developing the necessary skills for the manufacturing processes and investment in research and innovation for electro-mobility.

($1 = 0.8462 euros)

Reporting by Julia Fioretti; editing by Jason Neely and Jane Merriman