EU emissions goals may threaten automotive industry

Response to the latest EU goal to cut CO2 emissions are mixed.

The EU goals to cut CO2 emissions from cars by 37.5% and from vans by 31% by 2030 have been agreed, but are still polarising the European auto industry and green lobbyists. The breakthrough followed three weeks of "tough and intense negotiations," according to Austrian Environment Minister Elisabeth Koestinger, current holder of the EU’s rotating Presidency.

Germany, with an auto sector worth some €423 billion ($480bn) in 2017, has warned that the goal could harm its industry and cost jobs, while ACEA, the European auto industry's lobby group, expressed "serious concerns" about the 2030 target, describing it as "totally unrealistic based on where we stand."

The original EU executive proposal of an emissions decline of 30% compared to 2021 was pressured by several EU countries, including the Netherlands and France, raising the target  to 35%. The EU Parliament's target was 40%, so in the end, they split the difference.

Brussels-based green lobbying group Transport & Environment was looking for an even more ambitious goal. "Europe is shifting up a gear in the race to produce zero emission cars. The new law means by 2030 around a third of new cars will be electric or hydrogen-powered," its clean vehicles director Greg Archer said. "That's progress, but it's not fast enough to hit our climate goals."