Under pressure from the automobile industry and the German government in particular, EU environment ministers agreed late yesterday evening on weak targets for CO2 emissions from cars and light commercial vehicles and demanded only a marginal improvement to the EU Commission's proposal.
The ministers are proposing that CO2 emissions from new cars be reduced by 35% for cars and 30% for vans by 2030.
Last week, a majority of Members of the European Parliament called for a 40% reduction for cars. Negotiations between the European Parliament, the Council and the European Commission will begin shortly.
Also the EU negotiation position adopted for the United Nations climate conference in Katowice, Poland, in December 2018 is weak. It leaves open the option for a higher 2030 greenhouse reduction target, but a clear commitment and number are missing. The EU risks missing a huge opportunity to make the upcoming climate summit a success.
Bas Eickhout, climate policy spokesperson for the Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament, comments:
"EU environment ministers are sabotaging our chances to save the climate. Only one day after the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change called for radical action and political will to keep global warming under 1.5c, it seems that national governments like Germany are being towed along by the car industry. We can achieve the Paris climate targets and stop climate collapse. However, the transport sector needs to play its part, deliver on cleaning up its emissions, and gain the rewards of developing new technologies and industries.
"The EU environment ministers have also taken a weak position ahead of the climate negotiations in Katowice. It is absolutely key that the EU brings it 2030 greenhouse gas reduction target in line with climate science and the goals of the Paris Agreement. To do this we need at least a 55% reduction of emissions, but the clock is ticking."