EU reaches deal on 2020 emissions targets

Irish officials broker deal on emissions but Germany wins compromises

The agreement on stricter emissions for car manufacturers sets the criteria for implementing a target of 95 grammes of carbon dioxide per kilometre (g/km).  Photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times

The agreement on stricter emissions for car manufacturers sets the criteria for implementing a target of 95 grammes of carbon dioxide per kilometre (g/km). Photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times

Tue, Jun 25, 2013, 12:43

A deal to set stricter emissions on car manufacturers from 2020 has been agreed by the European Union.

The agreement sets the criteria for implementing a target of 95 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre (g/km).

According to the EU, the fleet average for EU car firms is 132g/km, with a current target of 130g/km by 2015 within reach.

The deal was brokered by Irish officials in their role as holders of the EU presidency.

Minister for Environment Phil Hogan said the agreement “strikes an appropriate balance between environmental ambition and economic considerations.” It still requires approval by individual member states.

Despite Germany’s attempts to protect its luxury car makers, negotiators rejected Berlin’s proposals that would have allowed car firms to carry over credits built up before the 2020 deadline.

Known as supercredits, these are earned by manufacturers when they produce very low emissions vehicles, such as electric cars. Germany has repeatedly defended the supercredit system, saying it encourages luxury car firms to research and develop alternatively-fuelled vehicles and add them to their fleets.

While the new deal will not allow the carry-over of these supercredits earned before the 2020 deadline, Germany did succeed in getting another technicality through, with the retention of the “multiplier”. This increases the number of supercredits a manufacturer earns for each low emission vehicle it builds. The commission had initially sought to set a limit on supercredits.

There is growing evidence that the official ranking of CO2 performance of new cars is increasingly at odds with their emissions in real world conditions. In response, the new agreement also calls for a transition from the current test cycle New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) to a new Worldwide Harmonized Light-duty Test Procedures (WLTP) “at the earliest opportunity”.