EU divided on proposals to extend carbon pricing to road transport and ban polluting cars – EURACTIV.com
EU countries remain divided over proposals to tighten carbon emission standards for cars and extend the EU’s carbon market to the road transport sector, with the fault line largely lying between the richest and the least rich Member States.
The revised regulation on CO2 emission standards for cars and vans, tabled in July by the European Commission, increases emissions targets until 2030 and proposes an effective ban on the sale of diesel and gasoline vehicles. ‘by 2035.
Currently, cars produced in the EU are allowed to emit 95g of carbon per kilometer driven. The Commission wants this figure to be reduced by 55% by 2030, to drop to 0 g in 2035.
Vans, which are allowed at 147g / km, are expected to experience a 50% reduction by 2030, but must also be emission-free by 2035.
In addition, the Commission wants a parallel Emissions Trading System (ETS) to be created for road transport and buildings, essentially putting a price on the carbon emitted by these sectors, which critics say , will increase the cost of transport and heating fuels.
An exchange of views held on Monday 20 December between EU environment ministers showed varying degrees of acceptance among national governments of the Commission’s proposals.
Among the most vocal critics of the proposed extension of the ETS to road transport and buildings was Poland, which argued that the carbon market “would place an increased burden on the most vulnerable citizens”. For this reason, the country said the expansion could not be accepted.
The impact on the poorest in society has become a recurring theme in arguments against expanding the ETS, with Hungary, Slovakia and Romania also warning that extending carbon pricing could affect living standards low-income citizens.
âThe measure would create a lot of social tension but would not lead to much reduction in emissions. We must not risk that the fight against climate change will lose the support of the citizens, âsaid Hungary. Instead, the country advocates investment support rather than carbon pricing to facilitate green transformation.
However, the ETS expansion proposal received broad support from Northern European member states, with Germany welcoming the expansion and âstrengtheningâ of the ETS.
Sweden hailed the ETS as a “socially efficient” way for member states to achieve climate neutrality, while Denmark argued that expanding the ETS will provide additional income that can be used to make in the face of any unwanted social impact.
Stricter CO2 standards for cars and vans
Proposals to impose stricter emissions requirements on automakers have been received more favorably on the whole, but have not been without criticism.
Around 50,000 jobs would be lost in the Czech Republic alone if the EU decided to ban internal combustion engines, Prague said. Romania also expressed concern about the impact on the automotive industry of a sales ban.
“2035 is premature [to phase out sales] for internal combustion engines, because we have to make sure that companies have enough time to adapt their technologies, âsaid Romanian Ionut Banciu.
Several countries, including Poland and Lithuania, have warned that a ban on new gasoline and diesel cars would see used vehicles from high-income countries heading to less wealthy countries, preventing a switch to zero vehicles emission and reducing climate benefits in these countries.
Italy, one of Europe’s largest manufacturers of automotive components, said it was conducting its own impact assessment on the consequences of phasing out ICE vehicles by 2035. âWe are seriously considering neutrality technology and biofuels as possible transitional solutions, âsaid Italian Environment Minister Roberto. Cingolani.
Conversely, many Member States, such as the Netherlands and Finland, have pleaded for greater ambition, pushing to bring the deadline for sales of polluting vehicles forward to 2030.
The Netherlands called on member states to be able to advance the phase-out of ICE vehicles regardless of what is agreed at EU level, while Finland urged countries to adopt the new, more ambitious emissions standards and not to “get lost in the details”.
Belgium argued that tightening emissions standards in the short term will allow manufacturers to prepare for the abandonment of thermal vehicles.
The country has also expressed skepticism of synthetic fuels as a long-term solution to greening road transport.
Germany’s Patrick Graichen stressed the country’s goal of having a third of the cars on its roads – some 15 million vehicles – electric by 2030.
While he called for legislation on CO2 standards to be concluded as soon as possible, he did not explicitly support the ban on the sale of polluting vehicles, likely reflecting uncertain internal discussions within the new one. ruling coalition on the future role of the internal combustion engine.
Response from the European Commission
EU climate chief Frans Timmermans acknowledged the divergent views among member states, but stressed the importance of taking bold and immediate climate action.
He defended the Commission’s proposal to extend ETS to road transport, arguing that it is one of the best policy instruments to influence behavior, and which the industry is now familiar with.
âI think that’s an essential part of the package because if you look at where emissions continue to rise, it’s in transport. And we have to do something there, âsaid Timmermans.
[Edited by FrÃ©dÃ©ric Simon]