After protracted negotiations, the EU has set a target of 37.5% reduction in new car emissions by 2030 — with an interim target of 15% by 2025 — towards meeting its commitment of cutting overall GHG emissions by 40%. The Paris goal of keeping global warming below 1.5 to 2ºC will entail higher cuts.
The 37.5% figure is a compromise between environmental concerns, the European Parliament’s goal of 40%, and massive lobbying by countries with large car industries (especially Germany) for a 30% reduction.
As is often the case with compromises, the law met with criticism from both sides. Representatives of Europe’s car industry call it “totally unrealistic” and warn of a “seismic impact” on jobs. The European federation of transport NGOs, Transport & Environment (T&E), called it a welcome step but not strong enough. Auto industries can use loopholes to undermine it. And the European Parliament’s proposal to penalise carmakers for failing to supply enough zero and low-emission vehicles (ZLEVs) was blocked by the Council and the Commission.
The law does send a clear signal to industry to phase out engine cars, though the target is not yet high enough to meet climate commitments. And there are no guarantees it will be attained (leave alone surpassed) without damaging the economy and the livelihoods of Europe’s 13.3 million autoworkers. It needs to be backed up by:
- I. Fiscal incentives to shift consumer demand towards ZLEVs
- II. Sufficient investment in green technology and jobs
DiEM25’s European Spring policy programme proposes concrete solutions:
* A pan-European carbon tax to tilt the balance towards ZLEVs and a carbon-free economy. See DiEM25’s news article COP24: Another Climate Cop-Out regarding advantages of a carbon tax (Fee & Dividend). Moreover, apart from being generally ineffective, Cap & Trade does not apply to transport emissions
* A European workers’ compact and jobs guarantee for every European, closely linked to a Green Investment Programme of €500 billion invested annually in Green Energy, Transport & Transition (GETT), ensuring new job opportunities across Europe and a smooth transition to a green economy
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