The European Parliament’s environment committee (ENVI) is due to vote on mandatory CO2 standards for car manufacturers on Wednesday (11 May), with the possibility of calling for a 70% reduction target by 2030. EURACTIV France reports.
Manufacturers are already being pushed to build cars that emit less CO2, including electric vehicles. Wednesday’s vote will determine how fast companies will have to transition production and when they will have to stop selling combustion engine vehicles.
The phase-out date for combustion engine vehicles is a topic that is “regularly reopened, mainly by the EPP [European People’s Party, centre-right], which considers that there should be no end to the combustion engine in 2035,” Pascal Canfin, ENVI committee chairman, told a press briefing on Monday.
At the vote, MEPs are expected to propose a target of 70% reduction by 2030 in the number of vehicles being produced that emit greenhouse gases.
By comparison, the European Commission has set a 55% reduction target for reducing CO2-emitting vehicles for 2030, and a full phase-out for 2050.
A narrow majority
However, it may be difficult for the ENVI committee to adopt the ambitious 70% proposal.
According to Canfin, “there is a progressive majority, from Left to Renew, plus a few EPP members who would not support an EPP line that is too conservative”. He added, “this majority is narrow, 2 to 3 votes maximum, but it exists,” he added.
If the two-thirds majority is not reached, the EPP’s line may be closer to being adopted.
This approach “profoundly challenges climate neutrality”, according to Canfin, who added that the EPP’s position “is not based on an industrial reality” but on “a purely ideological position consisting of saying ‘we do not want the end of the combustion engine'”.
The EPP group has not yet responded to EURACTIV’s request for comment.
On the ground, manufacturers are already anticipating the EU’s upcoming standards.
Car manufacturer Stellantis, for example, has already announced that it will stop producing CO2-emitting cars by 2030 in the European market. German car manufacturer Volkswagen, for its part, said it aims to have electric vehicles account for 70% of its sales by the same date.
“A large majority of manufacturers already have a zero-emission plan for the period 2030 to 2032,” said Canfin.”There is real room for manoeuvre, realistic from an industrial point of view, to go beyond the Commission’s -55% target,” he added.
After the vote in the ENVI committee, the European Parliament will vote in the plenary session in June.
According to Canfin, MEPs will likely decide on something between ENVI’s proposal for a 70% cut and the Commission’s proposal to reduce emissions by 55% by 2030 – percentage points that could be decisive in the fight against global warming.
[Edited by Frédéric Simon/Nathalie Weatherald]