EU talks to set CO2 emission limits for cars founder

The EU has been divided for months over how strict to be on CO2 emissions from cars. [Nataly Reinch/Shutterstock]

The European Union failed on Tuesday (11 December) to reach a compromise over how sharply to curb carbon dioxide emissions from cars and vans as car-producing countries and more environmentally conscious lawmakers could not find a compromise.

The EU has been divided for months over how strict to be on CO2 emissions from cars and vans. Germany, with the bloc’s biggest auto sector, has warned that tough targets could harm industry and cost jobs.

Representatives of lawmakers in the European Parliament of the 28 EU countries have held several rounds of talks together with the European Commission designed to find common ground and ended after six hours early on Tuesday, EU diplomats said.

The EU executive initially proposed that emissions decline by 30% by 2030, compared to 2021 levels.

Germany backed that plan, but a push by several EU countries, including the Netherlands and France, raised the target to 35%. There is also an intermediate target for 2025.

European Parliament lawmakers voted in favour of a 40% reduction in October, drawing howls from the car industry.

EU talks on car CO2 curbs risk stalling

European Union negotiators are locked in talks about new rules meant to cut carbon emissions from light vehicles but the complexity of the proposed regulation threatens to bog down the negotiations.

EU diplomats said the targets remained a problem.

The targets to curb emissions from the transport sector, the only industry in which emissions are still rising, are aimed at helping the bloc reach its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions overall by 40% by 2030.

EU countries are separately considering the extent to which truck emissions should be cut.

Extreme temperatures across the northern hemisphere this summer have fuelled concerns climate change is gathering pace, galvanising some EU countries to call for emissions to be cut at a faster rate than planned.

Eight such EU countries, including the Netherlands and Sweden, believe that the emissions cut should be 40% for cars and say there is a clear majority of countries willing to move beyond 35%.

One EU diplomat from a country seeking a more ambitious cut said it appeared that Austria, which holds the EU presidency and is negotiating on behalf of the other EU states, was simply waiting for assent from Germany.

The EU is attending talks billed as the most important UN conference since the Paris 2015 deal on climate change, which have begun a crucial final week in the Polish city of Katowice. The challenge is to agree a rule book to limit global warming.

Time for Austrian presidency to make a deal on car CO2 or go home

The last time a car CO2 regulation was negotiated in 2013, the agreement was blocked at the last moment by Germany, resulting in a year of delay and renegotiation. This year, it looks like history could be about to repeat itself, writes Greg Archer.

Subscribe to our newsletters