(BRUSSELS) – EU environment ministers adopted a ‘common position’ on future CO2 standards for trucks and buses Thursday afternoon, the first time the EU is setting CO2 emission reduction targets for heavy-duty vehicles.
The ‘common position’ or ‘general approach’ agreement provides the presidency with a mandate to start negotiations with the European Parliament.
CO2 emissions from heavy-duty vehicles including lorries, buses and coaches, represent around 6% of total CO2 emissions in the EU and about 25% of total road transport CO2 emissions.
“From 2025 onwards, new trucks and buses will emit on average 15% less CO2. And from 2030, they will emit 30% less CO2,” said Austria’s sustainability minister Elisabeth Koestinger, for the EU presidency.
This was an important step towards achieving European goals agreed under the Paris Agreement, she added: “The rules agreed today mean that between 2020 and 2030 we will emit 54 million tons of CO2 less, which corresponds to the total yearly CO2 emissions of Sweden.”
The Council maintains the overall CO2 emissions reduction target for the EU’s fleet of new heavy-duty vehicles from 2025 onwards, compared to 2019 emission levels, at 15% as proposed by the European Commission. The Council introduces a binding reduction target of 30% from 2030, unless decided otherwise following a review of this regulation in 2022.
A financial penalty in the form of an excess emissions premium is foreseen for those manufacturers which do not comply with the CO2 emission reduction targets.
There will be an incentive system, called super-credits, whereby zero- and low-emission vehicles will be counted as more than one vehicle when calculating the specific emissions of a truck manufacturer. The super-credits will be subject to specific predefined caps in order to avoid a weakening of the environmental objectives of the regulation. In comparison with the initial Commission proposal, the Council decided to exclude buses and coaches from this incentive system.
Finally, there will be specific measures to ensure the availability of robust and representative data from manufacturers on CO2 emissions and fuel consumption of the trucks they build.
The general approach reached today means that the Council is ready to start negotiations with the European Parliament. Trilogue negotiations are expected to start in January under the Romanian presidency.