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EU Commissioner talks of vehicle testing and HGV air pollution

Commissioner Canete highlights failure of car emissions testing regime and highlights lack of regulation of HGV emissions

A new testing procedure for checking the level of pollutants emitted from vehicles should be in place from September 2017, the European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, Miguel Arias Canete, said yesterday (January 28).

And, the Commissioner has highlighted how more regulation is needed of heavy goods vehicles, such as buses, which make up 25% of vehicle emissions.

EU Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete

EU Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete

Speaking at a conference of the German metalworkers union IG Metall, the Commissioner highlighted how the past testing procedure for cars had failed.

He said: “The success of our CO2 legislation risks being undermined by the fact that the results measured in the laboratory do not correspond to what drivers are experiencing. Our regulations have to be effective “when the rubber meets the road”. Artificial values harm the environment and climate, mislead consumers and have a distorting impact on tax revenues.”

The Commissioner added: “We are working on developing a new worldwide harmonised test procedure. There is a clear commitment by the European Parliament, the Commission and Member States to go forward with this and have the new test cycle applicable from September 2017. The Commission is working to ensure that the necessary legislation will be ready early this year.”

Decarbonisation

A Stakeholder Conference on decarbonisation of the road transport, together with the Commissioners responsible for transport and industry will be held before summer 2015, he said.

Commenting on the perspective of the new Commission, Mr Canete said that the Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker has “made a commitment to get Europe growing again. Making our economy stronger also requires making it more energy- and climate-smart. That is why building a resilient Energy Union with a forward-looking climate change policy is one of the top priorities of the Juncker Commission.

“It means that we have to keep up – and step up – the pace of decarbonisation. Europe needs to cut its emissions and reduce its dependency on imported gas and fuel, and transport needs to play its part.

“That is why EU leaders mandated the Commission to look into measures and instruments we can use after 2020 to further reduce emissions, increase energy efficiency, and develop the use of electric transport and renewable energy in the transport sector.”

Goal

The long-term goal, said Mr Canete, is to “reduce transport emissions by 60% by 2050. This was set out in the Commission’s Transport White Paper four years ago and reiterated in our communication on the 2030 framework. We know that to meet this goal we have to intensify our efforts after 2020.”

And he said that all transport modes need to contribute:

  • “Global shipping, for example,today accounts for 4% of the EU’s total emissions. These emissions are expected to more than double by 2050 if we don’t take action to reduce them. That is why EU environment ministers recently agreed on a new regulation setting out EU-wide rules for monitoring, reporting and verifying CO2 emissions from ships. This is a first step in a staged approach to reduce shipping emissions globally.
  • “We also need to reduce aviation emissions. They now account for about 3% of our total emissions, but they are growing fast. Since 2012, aviation emissions are included in the EU Emissions Trading System. In the first years – for the period from 2013 to 2016 – trading only covers emissions from flights within the European Economic Area. This will allow time for negotiations on a global market-based measure that would also apply to flights to and from countries outside Europe.”

Commenting more on road vehicles, the Commissioner pointed out that road transport is a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions in the EU – about one-fifth of the total. “And while these emissions slightly fell in 2012, they are still some 20% higher than in 1990. The most important and cost-effective way to reduce these emissions is to increase the efficiency of vehicles on our roads. The EU has taken action with the CO2 emission limit targets we set in 2009 for passenger cars and in 2011 for vans.”

EU flags

The Commissioner was working at a conference of the German metalworkers union IG Metall yesterday

Mr Canete said that EU targets “have worked. In fact, our policy has been so successful that the target for cars, which was set for 2015, and the target for vans, set for 2017, were already achieved in 2013. A new car today emits on average 20% less CO2 than in 2007.

“If we can maintain this downward trajectory, we are on track to meet the new targets for 2020 – 95 grams of CO2 per kilometre for cars and 147 grams for vans.”

And, he confirmed that both regulations on emission limits request the Commission to review the legislation by the end of 2015.

Heavy duty vehicles

He then turned to heavy duty vehicles.

“Trucks, buses and coaches are responsible for about a quarter of CO2 emissions from road transport in the EU, but today these emissions are neither measured not reported.

“We highlighted this knowledge gap for the first time in our strategy on heavy duty vehicles adopted in May last year. Now, work is in progress to finalise the “VECTO” simulation tool to determine CO2 emissions from these vehicles. We are also working on two pieces of legislation to certify and monitor emissions. Our aim is to have all of this ready by early 2016.

“Here I would like to thank manufacturers for their good cooperation. Special thanks go to Daimler for the trucks, coaches and buses they provided for testing the VECTO tool. More extensive testing will be carried out in the next phase on certification.

“These are the measures we are working on. Other possible measures like emission targets or ETS inclusion are not on our agenda at this stage.”

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