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Procedure : 2007/2119(INI)
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Document selected : A6-0343/2007

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PV 22/10/2007 - 16
CRE 22/10/2007 - 16

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PV 24/10/2007 - 8.24
CRE 24/10/2007 - 8.24
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Wednesday, 24 October 2007 - Strasbourg
Community Strategy to reduce CO2 emissions from passenger cars and light-commercial vehicles

European Parliament resolution of 24 October 2007 on the Community Strategy to reduce CO2 emissions from passenger cars and light-commercial vehicles (2007/2119(INI))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament on the results of the review of the Community Strategy to reduce CO2 emissions from passenger cars and light-commercial vehicles (COM(2007)0019),

–   having regard to the impact assessment (IA) relating to the abovementioned Communication (SEC(2007)0060),

–   having regard to the Sixth Community Environmental Action Programme (6th EAP)(1),

–   having regard to the Sixth(2) and Seventh(3) Framework Programmes for Research, Technological Development and Demonstration Activities,

–   having regard to its resolution of 16 November 2005 on "Winning the Battle Against Global Climate Change"(4),

–   having regard to the Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on "Limiting Global Climate Change to 2 degrees Celsius: The way ahead for 2020 and beyond" (COM(2007)0002),

–   having regard to its resolution of 14 February 2007 on climate change(5),

–   having regard to the Presidency Conclusions of the European Council of 8 and 9 March 2007 on the Renewed EU Sustainable Development Strategy (June 2006) and on the role of environmental technologies and eco-innovation in achieving the aims of the Lisbon Strategy for Growth and Jobs,

–   having regard to the report of the European Climate Change Programme of 31 October 2006 entitled "Review and analysis of the reduction potential and costs of technological and other measures to reduce CO2 emissions from passenger cars" (6),

–   having regard to Directive 1999/94/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 December 1999 relating to the availability of consumer information on fuel economy and CO2 emissions in respect of the marketing of new passenger cars(7),

–   having regard to Directive 98/70/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 October 1998 relating to the quality of petrol and diesel fuels(8) and the Commission proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 98/70/EC and introducing a mechanism to monitor and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the use of road transport fuels (COM(2007)0018),

–   having regard to Rule 45 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety and the opinions of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy and the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (A6-0343/2007),

A.   whereas some 19% of European Union CO2 emissions are produced by passenger cars and light-commercial vehicles, with absolute volumes continuing to grow principally because of the increasing number and growing power of new cars,

B.   whereas the most cost-efficient and effective policy option for reducing overall CO2 emissions from passenger transport is to increase the share of public transport;whereas it is therefore important that measures are taken to stimulate and to improve the quality and scope of public transport, in order to make the switch from personal vehicles to public transport more attractive and thereby decrease total CO2 emissions made by commuters;

C.   whereas driver behaviour and infrastructure measures have until now been neglected in EU strategy to reduce CO2 from cars, but have a high potential in terms of CO2 avoidance,

D.   whereas road transport accounts for 60% of all the oil used in the EU, with inefficient use of fuel increasing the threat to energy security and contributing to high running costs and the depletion of world oil reserves,

E.   whereas legislative measures are now required in order to promote the design and technological changes necessary if the sector is to help the EU meet its target of reducing CO2 emissions by at least 20% by 2020 compared to 1990 levels,

F.   whereas the voluntary approach has proved a failure as it seems clear that the car industry will fail to meet its voluntary commitment of 140 g CO2/km in 2008; whereas the target of 120 g CO2 /km was first proposed in 1995 and endorsed by Council and Parliament in 1996, with a deadline for delivery in 2005 and by 2010 at the latest,

G.   whereas, in its communication entitled 'A Competitive Automotive Regulatory Framework for the 21st Century' (COM(2007)0022), the Commission outlines the key elements for the future strategy for reducing CO2 emissions from motor vehicles on the basis of an integrated approach aimed at achieving the EU's target of 120 g/km of CO2 by 2012 via a combination of interventions by the Union and the Member States,

H.   whereas action is required in order to reduce CO2 emissions from passenger cars through an integrated approach comprising engine measures, complementary measures, biofuels, eco-driving and infrastructure measures,

I.   whereas absolute CO2 emissions from cars depend on the complex interplay between engine efficiency, carbon intensity of fuels, driver behaviour, mileage driven, infrastructure quality/congestion and CO2 efficiency of components,

J.   whereas it has been shown that a significant reduction in CO2 emissions would be achieved by consistent compliance with speed limits in all Member States,

K.   whereas affordability and fleet renewal are absolutely key to improving the CO2, air quality and safety performance of cars on the road,

L.   whereas taxation and labelling have failed to contribute to the EU's 3-pillar strategy to reduce CO2 emissions from cars,

M.   whereas it is of key importance to adopt binding and clearly defined CO2 passenger car emission objectives in the interest both of the smooth functioning of the internal market in the motor industry and of providing consumers with comprehensive information enabling them to make an informed decision regarding vehicle purchases, thereby contributing significantly to the reduction of CO2 emissions,

N.   whereas Directive 1999/94/EC has been insufficiently effective and Member States have failed to transpose it in a uniform manner,

O.   whereas it can be noted that for a number of products (e.g. electrical and household equipment) energy efficiency categories have been introduced successfully, which offer European consumers practical assistance in their purchasing decisions through easily understandable letter or colour coding, thereby enabling them to save energy and reduce CO2 emissions,

P.   whereas a contribution towards CO2 reduction must be made by all classes of vehicle categories, since market volume too, above all, is significant in terms of reducing CO2,

Q.   whereas the Lisbon Strategy's sustainable growth and employment objectives should be firmly pursued by avoiding measures which would increase pressure to cut jobs in Europe in the motor industry and jeopardise its international competitiveness,

Timetable and targets

1.  Recognises that manufacturers require between five and seven years to make changes to vehicle design in the most economical manner and, acknowledging that average emissions from cars placed on the EU market in 2008 are likely to be in excess of 150g CO2/km, therefore welcomes the Commission's plan to submit an EU legislative framework for CO2 emissions reduction including binding measures for improving the fuel economy of light vehicles by improving engine technology, other technological improvements and the use of biofuels; recalls that the EU average fleet target of 120 g CO2/km per passenger car was endorsed by the Council in 1996 and Parliament in 1997, with an initial target date of 2005 and a final deadline in 2010;

2.  Insists that the proposed use of "complementary measures" to achieve the previously agreed emissions target of 120g CO2/km be made possible through quantifiable standards and believes that legislation should set clear and measurable targets for emissions reductions to be achieved through technical means;

3.  Proposes that binding annual emissions targets should be set with effect from 2011 with the objective of promoting technical improvements to vehicles in order to ensure that, by these means alone, average emissions from all passenger cars placed on the EU market in 2015 do not exceed 125g CO2/km;

4.  Calls on the Commission to present concrete legislative proposals and measures that ensure that emission reductions of at least 10g CO2/km can be achieved by means of the complementary measures taken as part of the integrated approach, in order to reach the overall target value of 120g CO2/km;

5.  Insists that from 1 January 2020 average emissions should not exceed 95g CO2/km, and believes that the EU should provide support for the necessary promotion of innovation through the Seventh Framework Programme for Research; emphasises the need for intensive promotion of research and development of zero-emission vehicles, such as electrically propelled vehicles;

6.  Recalls its abovementioned resolution of 16 November 2005, calling for "mandatory limits for CO2 emissions from new vehicles in the order of 80-100 g CO2/km for new vehicles in the medium term"; supports the Commission's intention of promoting research, development and demonstration of advanced technologies, particularly to achieve more ambitious targets in 2020; calls on the Commission to evaluate the possibility of gradual reductions beyond 2012 through the use of lighter materials in vehicle manufacture, while ensuring that the current law is complied with and road safety for passengers and vulnerable users is not compromised;

7.  Points out that there is already high-volume series production of low-emission space-saving cars for local use ('Gentlecars'), with values lower than 90g CO2/km, and therefore calls on the Commission to support, in tandem with all other measures, action to ensure that Gentlecars are used as often as possible instead of high CO2 emission vehicles;

8.  Believes that longer term targets should be confirmed or reviewed by the Commission no later than 2016, following a detailed cost-benefit impact assessment and owing to the post-Kyoto agreement, and anticipates that these targets will possibly require further emissions reductions to 70g CO2/km or less by 2025;

9.  Calls on the Commission to take into account technical feasibility, cost-efficiency, environmental impact and affordability over the vehicle life-cycle of new cars when adopting any binding legislative measures which might influence the pace of vehicle fleet renewal;

10.  Notes that Community law regulates a market of 17 to 18 million vehicles per year, which is equivalent to the passenger car market in the United States; expects that an ambitious EU greenhouse gas emissions reduction policy will stimulate knowledge-based economic growth and job creation in the automotive supply industry and will have a positive influence worldwide in terms of reducing transport emissions;

11.  Recommends, in view of the difficulty that some specialist manufacturers may have in reducing average emissions across the limited range of cars they produce within the timescales envisaged, that each manufacturer or importer should have the right to exclude 500 identified vehicles annually from inclusion in the data used to determine average emissions, subject to the emissions and fuel economy of such vehicles being labelled and advertised to consumers in accordance with the usual legal requirements;

12.  Recommends, in addition, in view of the difficulty that some low-volume manufacturers (producing up to 300 000 units) and new entrants with a market share of less than 1% may have in reducing average emissions across the limited range of cars they produce within the time-schedule envisaged, that the Commission should consider incorporating proposals in the legislation that will provide those specialist manufacturers with ambitious reduction targets;

13.  Notes the important role played by specialist manufacturers of premium and high performance cars in pioneering advanced technologies, in sustaining high quality employment, in generating global sales and in benefiting the European economy, and notes that the know-how of such manufacturers should contribute substantially to reducing CO2 emissions from cars;

14.  Insists that any rules must safeguard the internal market and that Member States should implement EU rules on a common date and with common methods so as to avoid market disruption and fragmentation.

Sharing the task between manufacturers

15.  Recognises the large variation in consumer preferences regarding passenger cars and the different composition of manufacturers" fleets; insists that CO2 reductions must be achieved for all cars placed on the market and therefore some differentiation based on a utility parameter should be allowed but that this should not neutralise the incentive to shift towards lower emission vehicles or disadvantage early achievers;

16.  Stresses the importance of allowing particular vehicles to exceed emission limits to avoid excessive disruptions to the car market but seeks to provide strong incentives to bring about emission reductions, and therefore proposes that the setting of 2012 and 2020 targets for the reduction of average emissions, and interim annual targets, shall be achieved by reference to a limit value curve for all vehicles sold by manufacturers and importers that should take, as its starting point, the profile of the new passenger car fleet as of 1 January 2009;

17.  Recommends that the limit value curve be defined by a mathematical formula expressed as a function linking each vehicle's CO2 emissions with its footprint (track width times wheel base);

18.  Calls on the Commission to ensure adequate efforts for all manufacturers and incentives for reducing greenhouse gas emissions across the vehicle fleet; considers, however, that any future scheme should not reward, either directly or indirectly, manufacturers of historically more polluting vehicles, that vehicles with higher CO2 emissions must also be required to make a greater contribution to reducing CO2, and that the scheme should reward the most advanced technologies and alternative fuels according to their greenhouse gas performance (hybrids, hydrogen, electric vehicles or other alternative fuels);

19.  Calls on the Commission after having taken account of the views of stakeholders to present proposals for consideration by Parliament and the Council to ensure that the design of the curve takes into account the differences between car sizes and the technological costs of achieving emission reductions and the affordability of new cars for different types of customers ensuring both diversity and social equity;

20.  Notes the different legislative options for achieving the target; considers it essential, as the Commission states in its Communication, "to ensure … reduction targets which are equitable to the diversity of the European automobile manufacturers" but also to effectively reward best performance in vehicle efficiency;

21.  Proposes the introduction on 1 January 2011 of a new closed market mechanism, the Carbon Allowance Reductions System (CARS), through which manufacturers and importers will be required to pay financial penalties in proportion to any exceedance per car sold of the emissions limits and that these penalties may be offset by redeemable credits awarded to newly registered passenger cars of the same manufacturer with emissions below the limit value curve; considers that the penalties/excess g CO2/km should be higher than the rewards;

22.  Insists that any system of tradable quotas between vehicle manufacturers should be kept separate from the EU emission trading scheme, or any other outside carbon credit or compensation scheme;

23.  Calls on the Commission to include specific credits for early action for the introduction of ultra low CO2 technologies such as hydrogen, fuel cell, and plug-in vehicles which should allow each vehicle of this type introduced between now and the first year of implementation to be counted under the CO2 monitoring procedure as equivalent to (for example) forty conventional vehicles, with diminishing credits for subsequent years;

24.  Believes that the penalties should be set in a predictable and stringent way for industry and suggests that the Commission should make appropriate proposals for the level of penalties/credits expressed in EUR/g CO2;

25.  Accepts that the limit value curve and the level of penalties may have to be adjusted periodically, both to take account of developments in vehicle technology and to curb any slackening in the rate of emissions reductions;

26.  Recommends that the receipts from financial penalties be used both for research and development for CO2 emissions reduction and for aiding local public transport;

27.  Believes that the price of credits, after initial setting by the Commission, shall be determined by the market and that, in order to provide manufacturers and importers with more flexibility and a wider range of options, credits may be carried forward into following years or sold or transferred to other companies or business units within the scheme;

28.  Calls for the information on emission performance per vehicle and per manufacturer to be made available to the public in an easily accessible format to ensure transparency and facilitate comparison between vehicles and manufacturers;

29.  Recommends that manufacturers and importers should be able to make use of flexibilities such as group averaging, credits for renewable fuel vehicles and banking, and determine whether they wish the recognised trading entity to be the corporate body or the various subsidiary companies or business units directly responsible for production of the vehicles concerned;

Testing, data monitoring and vehicle specifications

30.  Insists that total greenhouse gas emissions per vehicle should be addressed, including emissions attributable to air conditioning systems; furthermore, urges the Commission to make proposals to update test cycles to reflect better real driving conditions;

31.  Advocates the revision of the test procedures to better imitate actual driving conditions, and calls for amendments to the European drive cycle to take account of technological developments such as the installation of sixth gears;

32.  Encourages the Commission to introduce new measurements and standards that can allow a fixed value to be attached for the purpose of associating CO2 emissions reduction with helpful improvements such as gear shift indicators, use of econometers, high efficiency air conditioning, improved lubricants, "start /stop systems at idle", low rolling resistance tyres and tyre pressure monitoring systems the use of which may depend upon individual driver behaviour; also recommends the introduction of technology in vehicles to encourage environmentally aware driver behaviour such as displays showing fuel consumption and cost for the current journey alongside the corresponding figures for frequently travelled routes, active speed limit warning devices and driver aids to control speeds, including speed-limiters;

33.  Calls on the Council to review testing procedures to determine whether conformity of production rules are being respected and to ensure that there can be no variance in the approach taken by the certified bodies in different Member States;

34.  Stresses the priority of addressing the urgent issues of energy security and the need to reduce Europe's dependency on imported fuel, to cut CO2 emissions through improvements in vehicle efficiency, and to improve road safety;

35.  Considers that any energy-saving measure that involves lower fuel consumption will have highly beneficial effects for the security of energy supply, by reducing both Community dependence on imports of primary energy sources and the international prices of hydrocarbons;

Advertising and labelling

36.  Having no confidence in the likely effectiveness of the proposed voluntary agreement on the advertising of new cars, calls on the Commission to make a proposal to amend Directive 1999/94/EC and introduce legal requirements for the labelling, advertising and marketing of new cars within the EU internal market, particularly with a view to ensuring that it is properly transposed so as to provide comprehensive and comprehensible consumer information;

37.  Recommends that mandatory and uniform minimum requirements should be set for the display of information relating to the fuel economy (l/100 km) and CO2 emissions (g/km) of new cars on vehicles and in advertising, in all marketing and promotional literature and in showrooms in a conspicuous, user-friendly and possibly colour-coded format for the purposes of comparison; regards the A-G format used for comparing the energy efficiency of certain electrical products as a model for the information displays required;

38.  Calls on the Commission to propose rules with similar objectives to cover areas not covered by current legislation, such as TV, radio and Internet-based material as well as advertisements for nearly new cars;

39.  Suggests that legislation requiring health warnings to be displayed on cigarette packs provides a useful example, and proposes that a minimum of 20% of the space devoted to the promotion of new cars through advertising, marketing literature, or point-of-sale displays in showrooms, should provide information on fuel economy and CO2 emissions in an approved format;

40.  Recommends that air conditioning test results be included in the fuel consumption information in all marketing and promotional literature and in showrooms;

41.  Suggests that a binding code for advertising be introduced which outlaws false green claims and, in order to promote strong consumer demand for vehicles with low CO2 emissions, recommends the introduction of an environmental performance "green star" rating system taking into account all aspects of environmental performance, including CO2 emissions (g/km) and emissions of other pollutants, fuel consumption (l/100 km), weight, aerodynamics, space efficiency, noise and environmental driving aids;

Promoting consumer demand

42.  Recognises the considerable role that Member States can play in encouraging consumer demand for lower emissions public-transport and private vehicles, and calls for the preparation of national action plans indicating measures intended to be taken in this regard;

43.  Supports in particular the use of fiscal measures, and encourages Member States to introduce both purchase and circulation taxes on vehicles with above average emissions;

44.  Recognises that the age of car fleets and driving at excessive speeds affect emissions; calls on the Commission and Member States to introduce economic incentives for retiring old cars and to ensure that part of vehicle taxes is variable depending on CO2 emissions and other pollutants; points out that, with the gradual introduction of technologies with zero CO2 emissions, the CO2-related tax component should, in the long term, disappear;

45.  Calls, with a view to preventing the fragmentation of the internal market, for EU-wide definitions of CO2 emission values, which can be used by Member States in setting emission-related tax incentives, to be established;

46.  Supports CO2-based taxation of cars and alternative fuels so as to set the right incentives for consumers and industry;

Light-commercial duty vehicles (N1) and other categories

47.  Supports the Commission's intention to regulate CO2 emissions of light-commercial vehicles and urges the Commission to bring forward proposals at the same time as those planned for passenger cars;

48.  Recognises that light-commercial vehicles have different characteristics and a different market compared to passenger cars; notes the lack of data on average emissions from this sector and the costs of bringing about reductions but believes that so far as possible the standards and requirements should match those required of passenger cars;

49.   Recalls that the European Parliament has invited the Commission on several occasions to consider CO2-limiting measures for all road vehicle categories and therefore urges the Commission to put forward appropriate regulatory proposals for heavy duty vehicles and two wheelers by 1 January 2009 at the latest;

Complementary measures

50.  Believes that measures that may help reduce vehicle CO2 emissions, but for which an absolute value cannot be attached, should be regarded as entirely supplementary and should not be included within the legislation currently proposed;

51.  Believes that flanking measures involving encouragement of more efficient driving, biofuels and, in particular, improvement of traffic management systems can make a contribution towards minimising CO2 emissions;

52.  Encourages Member States to reduce the volume of goods carried by heavy goods vehicles in favour of rail and waterway transport, which would have an impact in terms of lower pollutant emissions and would also reduce demand for oil;

53.  Fears that the increased use of biofuels risks increasing the price of food and feed, seriously affecting people on very low incomes and accelerating the destruction of tropical rainforests, and calls on the Commission to propose strict certification rules for imported biofuels so as to avoid any negative social and ecological impact;

54.  Believes in any case that the benefits of biofuels in reducing CO2 emissions should be considered within the context of revisions to Directive 98/70/EC;

55.  Insists that certification be developed for sustainably produced biofuels; calls on the Commission, in a legislative proposal, to allow only sustainable-status-certified biofuels to count towards meeting emission limit targets; stresses that second-generation biofuels derived from plants or plant fractions which are not in direct competition with food uses and provide greater efficiency must be expanded and given even more support;

56.  Recommends that further fuel efficiency targets be set beyond 2012 to continue reducing vehicle emissions whilst providing greater certainty to all stakeholders;

57.  Calls on the Commission to consider the role and potential of gaseous alternative fuels, such as liquefied petroleum gas and natural gas, which can contribute to the immediate reduction of CO2 emissions and to the diversification of the energy supply;

58.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to bear in mind the need for in-depth knowledge of the new technologies for motor vehicles and, in particular, to provide training courses for specific groups (such as engineering workshops and technical services);

59.  Calls on the Commission to immediately start preparing an EU-wide eco-driving campaign as part of the strategy to reduce CO2 from cars;

60.  Calls on the Commission to report to the European Parliament on how the CO2 benefits from eco-driving can be made monitorable and, if the Commission believes that this is not the case, explain why the Commission is financing the ECODRIVEN project that aims at quantified CO2 reductions through eco-driving;

61.  Supports the principle that undergoing a course in eco-driving should become a mandatory requirement for possession of a driving licence;

o   o

62.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission, and the governments and parliaments of the Member States.

(1) OJ L 242, 10.9.2002, p.1.
(2) OJ L 232, 29.8.2002, p.1.
(3) OJ L 412, 30.12.2006, p.1.
(4) OJ C 280 E, 18.11.2006, p.120.
(5) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2007)0038.
(7) OJ L 12, 18.1.2000, p. 16. Directive as last amended by Regulation (EC) No 1882/2003 (OJ L 284, 31.10.2003, p. 1).
(8) OJ L 350, 28.12.1998, p. 58. Directive as last amended by Regulation (EC) No 1882/2003.

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