The European Parliament has approved this Wednesday by 389 votes in favor, 239 against and 41 abstentions, raise the emission reduction requirements for new cars and vans. The vote is the first step to reduce the polluting gases of these vehicles, and must still be endorsed by the Member States and the European Commission, which could reduce the ambition of the initiative. Specifically, the European Parliament has given its approval that in 2025 the emissions will be 20% lower than in 2021. By 2030, this cut in gases should be at 40%. The objectives exceed those proposed by the Commission, which was in favor of a more progressive cut, of 30% in 2030, so that the industry has enough time to adapt.
The emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), the main greenhouse gas, have been reduced in the electricity sector of the European Union since 1990. And will continue to decline thanks to the different policies put in place by the EU to promote renewable energy and penalize the most polluting technologies such as carbon.
But road transport is still the lagging student in the fight against climate change in Europe. "Transport is the only important sector of the Union in which greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise," says the European Parliament, which is much more ambitious than the Commission in the fight against CO.2 of private vehicles. That is the position with which Parliament will negotiate with the European Commission and the Governments of the Twenty-eight from now on. And from these discussions will have to come the new directive that will mark the path of the decarbonization of transport in the next decade.
"In this matter we must be ambitious," said Malian Social Democratic MEP Miriam Dalli, rapporteur of the text approved on Wednesday. "We must establish the right incentives for manufacturers, encourage investment in infrastructure and propose a just transition for workers," he added.
The goal of 40% is slightly lower than the position approved a month ago by the Environment Committee of Parliament, which ruled in favor of raising the cut to 45%. But it is still high enough to arouse suspicion in the automotive industry, partisan of the Commission's calendar. "We ask the co-legislators not to go beyond the original proposal, any objective above 30% exposes our industry to a specific risk of interruption," lamented Roberto Vavassori, president of the European Association of Automotive Suppliers (CLEPA). for its acronym in English).
The agreement approved on Wednesday also establishes that companies will be obliged to guarantee that the least polluting vehicles -the electric ones and those that emit less than 50 grams of CO2 per kilometer – account for 35% of new cars and vans by 2030, and 20% by 2025.
The employment dilemma
The entities of environmental profile have shown their satisfaction. "We welcome this vote as a crucial step towards cleaner air, less oil imports and more jobs," the Transport & Environment organization applauded.
The reference to jobs is not free. Both Brussels and European manufacturers have issued several warnings of the theoretical impact for employment that would mean setting too strict limits. "In the run-up to this vote, the car industry and the European Commission have exerted unprecedented pressure in an attempt to further weaken the position of Parliament," criticized the group of the Greens in the European Parliament, which has applauded the position adopted by parliamentarians. "I call on the Spanish Government and Minister Teresa Ribera to be on the side of the European Parliament, it is an excellent opportunity to launch the much-desired ecological transition," said EU ecologist Florent Marcellesi.
MEP Miriam Dalli has also referred to employment at the press conference after the vote in Parliament. He recalled that the Commission's reports point to the goal of 40% cut emissions in 2030 will create "69,000 jobs if they continue to import batteries from outside the EU." But that figure will rise to 92,000 new jobs if the battery production – which now dominates China – moves to Europe. "We have to embark on this long-term strategy", added the MEP.
Dalli has not denied a possible negative impact on the industry. He recalled that in the next 12 years the reduction of 40% of emissions will mean, according to the same reports of the Commission, a loss of 12,000 jobs in the automotive sector.