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EU’s CO2 reduction goal is too weak, environment group says

Transport & Environment, an advocacy group, had supported an interim target in 2027 and a deeper cut in emissions in 2030, arguing that it would speed up electric vehicle adoption and drive down costs. Jan Huitema, a Dutch member of the European Parliament, had sponsored an amendment for a 75 percent cut by 2030.

But the tougher targets face resistance from some member states, largely from the east of the bloc, who have voiced concerns about a lack of infrastructure and the high cost of EVs.

The committee narrowly defeated those plans on a vote of 46 to 40 with two abstentions. The provisions – first proposed in July 2021 — will be formally adopted in June, and then serve as the basis for negotiations with EU governments on the final shape of the legislation, the EU said Wednesday.

Transport & Environment praised the proposal for a tougher 2025 target, saying it would help spur sales of EVs, but called it insufficient by itself.

“The EV boom will falter for the next 10 years unless lawmakers step in with an interim target in 2027 and a more ambitious goal in 2030,” Alex Keynes, clean vehicle manager at Transport & Environment, said in a statement this week. “Without it, Europe may not sell enough zero-emissions cars to meet its own 2030 goals as well as those of many EU countries,” he added.

Full-electric cars made up 9.1 percent of European sales in 2021, compared to 1.9 percent in 2019. The new EU emissions guidelines would mean that EVs would have to make up more than 50 percent of new-car sales in 2030, according to analysts

But some automotive executives, including Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares, have said that increases in raw materials prices and other costs could threaten that rate of growth. IN addition, there have been concerns that much of Europe, especially poorer countries, lack charging station infrastructure.

The EU said in 2021 that it preferred to set targets in five-year increments, and that the targets were sufficient to ramp up EV demand. 

Ahead of the Fit for 55 guidelines, automakers had called for an increase in charging station infrastructure requirements – which the EU has already signaled it will consider — as well as a review of the post-2030 emissions targets in 2028. 

ACEA, the European automakers’ lobbying group, said the proposed tightening of the 2025 target would put its members under increased deadline pressure, and that the 15 percent cut should remain unchanged.

“The suggested change to the upcoming 2025 target would simply not leave enough time to adapt due to vehicle development and production cycles,” an ACEA spokesperson said. “There are less than three years left till 2025, presuming that a final deal on the CO2 targets can be reached this year.”

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