Reaching the 2020 target for CO2 emissions from light commercial vehicles — feasible?

Our topic of the day was car pollution, as we streamed live a seminar on the 2020 target for CO2 emissions from light commercial vehicles. The event took place at the European Parliament and was organized by the ALDE group. Here are a few interesting facts on the subject which are in any case worth knowing and which could be a good base for those of you who decide to watch the discussion.

Road transport contributes about 1/5 of the EU’s total emissions of carbon dioxide and is the only major sector in the EU where greenhouse gas emissions are still rising. There were significant improvements in vehicle technology in recent years but these have not been enough to neutralize the effect of increases in traffic and car size. Between 1990 and 2010, CO2 emissions from road transport have increased by nearly 23%. In order to meet greenhouse gas emission reduction targets under the Kyoto Protocol, the EU needed to introduce new effective measures. The response was a comprehensive legal framework to reduce CO2 emissions from new light duty vehicles (under 3.5 tonnes), accounting for about 12 % of the EU market.

The legislation obliges car manufacturers to ensure that their new car fleet does not emit more than a defined amount of CO2 per km. The targets look like this: a reduction of emissions with 14% by 2017 and 28% by 2020. Apart from that, the greenhouse gas intensity of vehicle fuels must be cut by up to 10%.

EU officials say that the law helps not only to preserve the climate but also to boost competitiveness and innovation in the automotive sector. The last is also expected to create new jobs. All this sounds very good and still the aim is high. It requires a truly unified effort by politicians, industry representatives and environmentalists — groups whose priorities sometimes do not overlap — which sets long discussions and the hearing of all viewpoints as the only road to reaching the needed consensus. By watching our webcast, you can see how different perspectives on the subject collide until the best of each become part of a final solution.

Click here to watch the broadcast.