STRASBOURG, Oct. 3 (Xinhua) -- the European Parliament in Strasbourg backed a draft law that would require a reduction in greenhouse emissions by at least 40 percent by 2030 for new cars in the European Union (EU), and support accelerated market uptake of clean transport technology.
The draft legislation was adopted by 389 votes to 239, with 41 abstentions in a plenary session.
AMBITIOUS TARGETS AND ENFORCEMENT
It increases the emissions target reduction to 40 percent, higher than the European Commission proposals for a 30 percent reduction, based on reference levels in 2021. In addition, the law would set an intermediate reduction goal of 20 percent by 2025.
"Achieving the European Parliament's support for a 40 percent CO2 emissions target by 2030 was no mean feat and I am proud of the successful result achieved," said Miriam Dalli, European Parliament rapporteur on the draft law. "Equally important is the 20 percent emissions target for 2025," she added.
In addition to ambitious emissions targets, the legislation would require carmakers to ensure that zero- and low- emission vehicles - ZLEVs - (electric cars or vehicles which emit less than 50g CO2/km) have a 35 percent market share of sales of new cars and vans by 2030, and 20 percent by 2025.
The draft law calls on the European Commission to propose, within two years, plans for "real-world" CO2 emissions tests in the wake of 2015 "dieselgate" scandal that revealed German carmaker Volkswagen had deployed as many as 11 million cars worldwide that used misleading software that showed reduced emissions during testing.
Real-world CO2 emissions tests should be functional and operating by 2023, MEPs said in their resolution.
MEPs also agreed that manufacturers whose average CO2 emissions exceed the established targets will pay a fine to the EU budget, to be used for up-skilling workers affected by changes in the automotive sector.
The European Parliament also took into account the societal challenges of the transition towards zero-emission transport, and that changes to the automotive value chain would have negative social impacts, especially for automotive workers.
For this reason, MEPs said, the EU should promote skill development and reallocation of workers in the sector, particularly in regions and communities most affected by the transition. MEPs also called for the support of European battery manufacturing.
"This legislation goes beyond reducing harmful emissions and protecting the environment,"said Dalli, "It looks at setting the right incentives for manufacturers; it encourages investment in the infrastructure; it proposes a Just Transition for workers".
KEEPING UP WITH ENERGY TRANSITION
According to studies conducted by the European Parliament, the European Commission, and their partner institutions, transport is the only sector of the EU which has seen increased emissions in recent years.
The European Environment Agency (EEA) figures indicate that road transport made up 72.9 percent of total greenhouse emissions by EU transport in 2016, and is responsible for 20 percent of the bloc's total emissions, as well as 78 percent of EU oil consumption in 2015.
In order to meet the commitments made at COP21 Paris climate agreement in 2015, the decarbonization of the entire transport sector needs to accelerate, MEPs agreed, aiming towards zero-emission by mid-century.
MEPs noted the need for European car manufacturers to adapt to the massive changes in the global automotive sector, with particular emphasis on electrified powertrains. If European carmakers engage late in the necessary energy transition, the parliamentarians stressed, they risk losing their leading role.
Now that it has been given the green light by the European Parliament, ministers of European Union members will adopt their common position on Oct. 9, 2018. Negotiations with MEPs for a first reading agreement would then begin on Oct. 10.