European carmakers are on track to meet their CO2 emission targets without special support, contrary to what the German government is arguing, according to green campaign group Transport & Environment (T&E).
A research paper published on 9 September by T&E found that carmakers were on track to achieve their 2015 and 2020 CO2 emission targets and did not need "legislative loopholes" such as super-credits for electric vehicles sales to meet them.
Such special treatment was being requested by the German government, “encouraged by BMW”, T&E claims.
Under the super-credit provision, carmakers could write off a certain number of their more gas guzzling cars against EU targets by producing a certain number of environmentally-friendly vehicles such as electrics or hybrids.
The report found that super-credits awarded to Nissan for selling only 2,800 electric cars in 2012 effectively reduced its target by 2 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre (g/km). “If the current trend of increasing sales of electric vehicles continues, super-credits would totally undermine the 95g/km target and result in it being met on paper but not on the road”, the report says.
The organisation has been assessing carmakers' efforts to cut CO2 emissions since 2006.
“Following the introduction of the European legislation on CO2 emissions, the annual rate of progress has tripled to 3.6%. The clear conclusion is that the targets are achievable for makers of all types and sizes of cars with appropriate planning”, says the report.
T&E clean vehicles manager, Greg Archer, said in a statement that "with appropriate planning Europe's carmakers will meet their fuel efficiency targets without resorting to accountancy tricks like supercredits. The generous supercredits, that Germany is advocating, will increase both emissions and drivers’ fuel bills. European countries must hold firm on the 2020 deal struck in June".
In June, Germany delayed a vote on EU legislation aimed at imposing stricter limits to cars' CO2 emissions from 2020.This was despite an earlier compromise agreement among EU institutions, struck on 24 June 2013, on implementing a target of 95g/km for all new EU automobiles. The new proposals were tabled the year before, in June 2012.