WEDNESDAY - COMMISSION TO
ADOPT C02 FROM CARS REGULATION. (BRIEFING NOTE)
This information note has been prepared by Chris Davies MEP, the European Parliament‟s rapporteur on reducing C02 emissions from
Chris Davies is the environment spokesman for the UK Liberal Democrats and represents the ALDE group on this issue.
He can be contacted on: (0032) 2 284 5353 or 0044 7787 504516.
A draft regulation on reducing C02 emissions from passenger cars is due to be adopted by the European Commission on Wednesday 19 November.
The President‟s office has taken the lead in preparing the proposals.
The draft circulated for interservice consultation is far from complete and criticism has been voiced by some Commission DGs that they have not been given sufficient time for consideration. Copies of the impact assessments used to justify the recommendations have only been made available within the last few days.
Despite the criticism that the plans may generate, the Commission, fresh
from its success at the UN climate conference in Bali, wants to demonstrate that it is turning words into action, especially as adoption
of other major pieces of climate change legislation (originally due on December 5) has now been put back to the end of January.
Officials are also aware that any further delay in the legislative process will give ammunition to car manufacturers seeking a longer period in which to comply.
Passenger cars currently generate 12% of total EU C02 emissions and the figure is growing. The increase in the number and size of vehicles across Europe has cancelled out reductions made through improved fuel efficiency.
A voluntary agreement reached 10 years ago between the EU and the car makers called for emissions from new cars to be reduced to an average of
140g C02/km by 2008. However, latest figures suggest that average emissions are still at 160g C02/km despite the availability of technology that could permit significant reductions to be made.
The draft regulation is expected to repeat a call made by the Commission
in February for emissions from new cars to be reduced though improved technology to 130g C02/km, with an additional reduction to 120g C02/km to be achieved through the use of „complementary measures‟ such as
biofuels and adoption of various devices the performance of which will depend on driver behaviour.
However, although the aim will be achieve this overall level of reductions by the original target date of 2012 it is not clear that this
will be a legally binding requirement. This will require clarification.
The regulation will also propose that car manufacturers should be required to pay a penalty payment every year from 2012 with regard to every g C02/km by which the vehicles they put on the market exceed the individual target set for them. The size of the penalty payment will increase with each passing year. The proposals circulated within the Commission do not indicate the size of the financial penalties to be introduced except to say that it “should reflect technological costs”
(ie the cost of achieving C02 reductions).
The size of the reductions to be achieved by each manufacturer will be determined by a formula that will set specific permitted emissions for each new car. This issue is hugely controversial and the outcome will inevitably please some manufacturers and disadvantage others. The draft regulation says that the formula will be based on the equation AxB+C, where B is the masse of each car while A and C have “still to be
As the object is to reduce average emissions across the fleet, and not to single out individual vehicles, car makers will be able to form pool arrangements (eg. Mercedes linking with Fiat) for the purpose of submitting an average figure for the complete range of vehicles produced. However, it will be up to manufacturers to negotiate such arrangements and it is not clear why it should be in the interest of low
emission car makers to agree to them.
The proposals now circulated within the Commission are welcome, and reflect the approach recommended by the Parliament in October, but they leave a great many details still to be determined. If adopted on Wednesday it can be assumed that both the Council and the Parliament will play a significant role in filling in the blank pages.
For example, in addition to omissions mentioned above:
There is no mention of a long term target, although the Parliamenthas called for one of 95g C02/km by 2020 and the UK government one of 100g by 2020.
It does not say what will happen to the money collected from car manufacturers by way of financial penalties.
It hints that small volume independent manufacturers (Morgan, for example?) may be excluded from the Regulation, but provides no definitions or figures.
It does not explain where technical improvements that may be used by manufacturers end and „additional measures‟ begin. For example, how will
stop-start technology be categorised, given that its effect depends on whether a vehicle is driven in urban conditions or on motorways?
It makes no reference to air conditioning, although this can increase emissions by 10g C02/km and is not currently included within vehicle type approvals.
By failing to provide the results of the impact assessment at this stage
it leaves unclear whether the proposal to reach the target of 130g C02/km by 2012 is a cost effective means of achieving the C02 reductions
sought. (The European Parliament has called for manufacturers to be given till 2015 to each a 125g C02/km target, thus allowing them a full design cycle period in which to achieve the reductions at a more economic price).
Chris Davies commented:
“By promoting the sale of gas guzzling large cars the industry chose to
put profit before responsibility. The Commission has been warned for the
past five years that car makers were going to miss the targets set by the voluntary agreement.
“This draft legislation is late but is still a welcome step forward. At
last we shall have the basis for placing legally binding requirements upon manufacturers. We have the chance of forcing manufacturers to use the technology to improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions that has been available for years.”