The European Union has sent perhaps its strongest signal yet that it intends to tighten 2030 greenhouse gas emissions standards further, increasing the pressure on automakers to electrify their lineups.
The EU released its proposals for a “Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy” on Wednesday, the bloc’s plan to cut transport emissions to reach its overall goals of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 percent by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2050. It includes 82 initiatives for air, land and sea transport.
Those targets “will be reached only by introducing more ambitious policies to reduce transport’s reliance on fossil fuels without delay” the strategy paper says. “The success of the European Green Deal depends on our ability to make the transport system as a whole sustainable.”
Industry groups had a mixed reaction to the strategy, which still needs to be approved by the European Parliament.
“The jury remains out on whether the right balance has been struck between the economy and the environment,” the suppliers’ lobbying group CLEPA said Thursday in a letter signed by president and secretary general Sigrid de Vries. Many suppliers are facing an uncertain future if internal-combustion engines are forced into obsolescence by emissions regulations.
Automakers are already facing a 37.5 percent reduction in 2020-21 fleet emissions of 95 grams of CO2 per kilometer in 2030, which translates to an average of about 60 g/km. That figure is attainable only with a much higher percentage of full-electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles that are sold now.
But the European Commission that was seated at the end of 2019 under Ursula von der Leyen has proposed the more ambitious overall Green Deal targets, leading to reports that 2030 tailpipe emissions could be cut by 50 percent. Looking further down the road, the EU is seeking to cut transport emission by 90 percent by 2050.
Wednesday’s report signaled that further cuts are almost inevitable.
“The proportion of low- and zero-emissions vehicles in the vehicle fleet is far too low today,” the EU strategy says. “Therefore, in order to meet the targets put forward in the 2030 climate target plan and ensure a clear pathway from 2025 onwards towards zero-emissions mobility, the Commission will propose a revision of the CO2 standards for cars and vans by June 2021.”