The environment committee (ENVI) of the European Parliament yesterday voted in favour of the 95 g/km CO2 emissions target for 2020, including the use of controversial ‘super-credits’, i.e. having sub-50 g/km vehicles count multiple times towards reaching the target. They also voted in favour of a setting a ‘corridor’ target of 68 to 78 g/km by 2025.
At an MEP briefing at the European Parliament organised by the FIA and BEUC (European Consumers’ Organisation) the day before, a number of organisations presented their case for and against the proposals, including topics such as super-credits and the 2025 target. Participants saw contributions from the FIA, BEUC, European Commission, CLEPA (European Association of Automotive Suppliers), Transport & Environment, vzbz (a German consumer organisation), ACEA (the European vehicle manufacturers association), the Dutch automobile club ANWB and the ICCT (International Council on Clean Transportation).
Unsurprisingly, there were two camps: environmental and consumer organisations one the one hand, and industry on the other. The former advocated an abolition of the super-credits system and tighter long-term goals because this would benefit the environment and consumers. Consumers would recoup the extra cost per vehicle (c.€300–€1,000) within a couple of years through far cheaper running costs. Representatives from the automotive industry, on the other hand, argued that the proposals and tight long-term targets would require impossibly high investments from a sector that is already feeling the pain. It also said it doesn’t make sense to set any kind of post-2020 target because there is no sound scientific basis for doing so.
While it is true that industry would have to invest (possibly quite heavily) now, it would recoup the money at later stage because the extra costs per vehicle would be passed on consumers. And it is also the case that there is an increasing scientific basis for setting post-2020 targets: not least our report Powering Ahead by Ricardo-AEA which was co-funded by the UK Petroleum Industry Association.
Rest assured that the battle will continue.