Update Post: November 28, 2023 10:29 pm
Today the European Parliament (EP) has closed its position regarding the final negotiation of the community regulations that aim to reduce CO2 emissions from trucks and buses by up to 90% by 2040 with the Member States. The Council of the EU hopes that the agreement can be closed before the end of the year.
With 445 votes in favor, 152 against and 30 abstentions, the European Parliament allowed an approach with a cut in average emissions of 45% for new vehicles in 2030, an increase compared to the 30% of the current regulations, and a continuation of 65 % in 2035 and 90% in 2040.
The text does not diverge too much from the negotiating position adopted by the countries of the European Union (EU). It is expected that the final negotiation can be closed before the end of the year, under the Spanish presidency of the EU Council, or in the first weeks of 2024, already under the Belgian presidency, as explained by the president of the French liberal parliamentary commission on the Environment. Pascal Canfin.
“Transport requires special attention, it is responsible for almost a quarter of European CO2 emissions and for a long time it has been the only sector in which emissions continued to increase,” said the European Commissioner for Action in the debate before the vote. . Climatica, Wopke Hoekstra.
New zero-emission buses
MEPs were also in favor of only registering new zero-emission buses from 2030, as well as proposing a temporary exemption, until 2035, for city buses powered by biomethane, under “strict” conditions.
The European Parliament also wants at least 50% of bus parts to be manufactured in Europe, so as not to lose competitiveness with respect to China.
Hoekstra stated during his speech that “there is no alternative” to moving to zero emissions and that “increasing the supply of climate-neutral buses and trucks is a security policy for Europe.”
However, the European commissioner was reluctant to include a “carbon correction factor” linked to one of the most politically sensitive points of the negotiation, which has to do with the space given to synthetic fuels (” fuels”).
This correction, ruled out by the MEPs, would serve to calculate what percentage of a vehicle’s mixture comes from synthetic fuels and carbon-neutral biofuels, an extreme that the commissioner does not like because “it would mean giving a bonus to the manufacturers with the fuels.”
Decarbonization of sectors
The most environmentalist groups and NGOs understand that these synthetic fuels should be reserved for sectors that are difficult to electrify such as aviation or maritime transport.
Several truck manufacturers – Scania, Volvo, Daimler and Mann – have asked that “efuels” not be included in the regulations because they do not want to create uncertainty and are committed to focusing on the two most developed motorization technologies, electric or hydrogen.
For her part, the director general of the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA), Sigrid de Vries, pointed out that, for manufacturers, “the question is not whether we can decarbonize, but how quickly.”
De Vries assured that “if the enabling conditions are not addressed” it will not only “slow down the ecological transition” of the sector, but will also “endanger” its global competitiveness.
Negotiations of the Twenty-Seven
Now, negotiations must begin with the Council of the EU, which represents the governments of the Twenty-seven and which agreed last October on the common approach of the capitals.
The Twenty-seven introduced some flexibility in the implementation of the regulation, such as an exception for small manufacturers, vehicles used in mining, forestry and agriculture.
The legislative review is based on a proposal presented by the European Commission last February, with the aim of helping to achieve the EU’s climate neutrality goal by 2050 and reducing the demand for imported fossil fuels.