EU states call for ambitious truck CO2 emissions targets

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - France and four other European Union countries have called for ambitious CO2 emissions reduction targets for trucks, ahead of a proposal from the European Commission expected later this month.

Slideshow ( 2 images )

In a position paper, seen by Reuters, France says it wants “ambitious objectives to be fixed for 2025, 2030 and 2050 in order to expand efforts to decarbonise transport.”

In another letter, seen by Reuters, ministers from Ireland, Lithuania, the Netherlands and Luxembourg call on the Commission to set a CO2 emission reduction target of at least 24 percent for 2025 and 35-45 percent for 2030.

Unlike other countries such as the United States, China, Japan and Canada, the EU has no limits on CO2 emissions from trucks, which account for a quarter of road transport emissions while making up just 5 percent of the vehicles on the road.

The Commission will propose the EU’s first-ever CO2 standards for trucks on May 16, following which they will have to be agreed by the European Parliament and national governments.

It has already indicated that it is looking at an interim target for 2025 to be followed by a stricter one in 2030.

Both documents called on the Commission to introduce a review clause for 2021 to set the final 2030 target and lower it if necessary.

The auto industry has said it would welcome the introduction of CO2 standards for trucks and that a “realistic ambition level would be a 16 percent tail-pipe CO2 reduction between 2019 and 2030, with an intermediate target of 7 percent in 2025.”

"As this is the first time that CO2 targets are set for heavy-duty vehicles, it is of utmost importance that they are designed properly, and reflect the diversity of the truck market," said Joachim Drees, CEO of truckmaker MAN VOWG_p.DE.

The EU wants to curb greenhouse gas emissions from transport as part of a drive to cut emissions by at least 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.

Luxembourg, Ireland, Lithuania and the Netherlands also called for “ambitious and mandatory 2025 and 2030 sales targets of zero emissions trucks for OEMs (original equipment manufacturers).”

“Member states are crystal clear that they want 2025 targets that will fully decarbonise trucks by 2050,” said Stef Cornelis, cleaner trucks officer of campaign group Transport & Environment.

“To achieve this Europe needs to introduce 2025 standards that will cut emissions of new trucks by 24 percent. Less ambition would compromise the competitiveness of our trucking industry and the achievement of our climate goals.”

Reporting by Julia Fioretti, editing by Louise Heavens