Europe puts a stop to the polluting emissions of heavy vehicles for the first time. The European Parliament and the EU countries have announced on Tuesday an agreement to reduce by 30% the carbon dioxide emissions of new trucks and buses in 2030 compared to their 2019 levels. The fix also sets an intermediate target of 15 % by 2025. The pact must be endorsed in a vote by the European Parliament and the Member States, but after the negotiators understand, the way for manufacturers to be obliged by law to reduce the environmental impact of these transports appears clear.
The green light has cost nine months. In May of last year, the European Commission proposed the same thresholds that have been approved today. In November, the European Parliament, after a debate in which the deputies were divided between ambition and realism, bet on higher levels of those finally achieved, specifically 20% in 2025 and 35% five years later. With the Member States aligning with the Brussels figures, the negotiation closed with slightly more benevolent margins for the manufacturers, but the Parliament has managed to include in the text the objective that 2% of the sales are zero and low vehicles. emissions from 2025 so that companies look for alternatives to diesel trucks, highly polluting.
The road map sowed some concern in the car industry, but pleased almost everyone involved: community institutions, EU governments, and environmental parties and organizations. "We have reached an ambitious and balanced agreement", said the Commissioner of Climate Action, Miguel Arias Cañete. "It is a great success that the EU will act for the first time on carbon dioxide emissions from heavy vehicles, it will help to reduce pollution on our roads and improve air quality," said Florent Marcellesi, MEP for Los Angeles. Green. Stef Cornelis, of the NGO Transport & Environment, one of the most influential in Brussels in his field, believes that this is only the beginning. "The standards should be stricter when they are revised in 2022," he warned.
The intention of the European institutions is that the automotive industry, pressured by fixed objectives, receives the message that it has to invest in less polluting technologies. The manufacturers have tried for months to lower a few bars that are considered too high, but have not been successful. The European employers' association ACEA defended a much slower reduction, of 7% for 2025 and 16% for 2030, in order to give the sector time to adapt. Finally, the speed at which they will have to evolve has been light years: practically twice as much as they demanded. Once the battle is lost, the ACEA has warned that the responsibility can not rest solely on the companies. "We can not expect transport operators to suddenly start buying electric or other trucks if it is not possible to easily load vehicles on the EU's main highways," argues its general secretary, Erik Jonnaert.
"It will be difficult to achieve such challenging objectives", agrees Sigfried de Vries, his counterpart from CLEPA, the European Association of automotive suppliers. From the entity assume that with the Paris climate agreement on the horizon, the transformation is inevitable, but have tried to convince negotiators that too high limits can damage the competitiveness of European companies and cause a massive import of Chinese batteries to meet the goals.
The Greens remember that the United States, Japan and China already approved emission regulations for these vehicles, and that Europe was an exception. However, the auxiliary industry estimates that it was not necessary because European trucks are already among the most efficient in the world. "Although freight has increased by more than a third since 1995, emissions have barely grown, "remarks De Vries.
Trucks represent only 5% of the vehicles that circulate on European roads, but are responsible for 22% of the total emissions from this type of transport. The new standard aims to reduce this chasm in part: Brussels talks about a reduction of carbon dioxide emissions of 54 million tons between 2020 and 2030, the equivalent of all those released in a year Sweden, a country of 10 million inhabitants .