EU pushes for emissions agreement with external car manufacturers

EU negotiations for voluntary CO2 emissions agreements with car manufacturers in Japan and Korea are not proving fruitful, and the EU is considering legal measures to enforce the same standards agreed with the European car industry.

Europe’s Environment Ministers yesterday expressed concern that insufficient progress had been made, particularly in negotiations with the Korean automotive manufacturers (KAMA).

They urged the Commission to conclude the negotiations as soon as possible and by the end of May at the latest, and requested a report on the outcome and “a detailed assessment of measures envisaged, including possible legislation, which would ensure equivalent efforts” were made by the non-European manufacturers.

The objectives of the negotiations with the Japanese automotive manufacturers (JAMA) and KAMA are twofold: to ensure that the Community’s car/CO2 reduction target is achieved, by extending coverage of this environmental agreement to all the major players on the Community market; and to avoid the potential distortion of competition which might occur if a major player were exempted from equivalent CO2 reduction commitments.

Overall, the negotiations are intended to result in the conclusion of individual agreements with both JAMA and KAMA which mirror the agreement committed by the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA).

The agreement with ACEA contains a clearly quantified average CO2 emission objective for new category passenger cars sold in the European Union, namely 140 g/km to be achieved by 2008, measured according to the Community’s current measurement procedure (Directive 93/116/EEC). This corresponds to a 25% reduction in the average emissions of new passenger cars compared with the 1995 level.

The agreement also contains the following two intermediate objectives:

  • Not later than 2000, some European manufacturers will begin to sell models emitting 120 g/km CO2 or less in the EU market.
  • An “estimated target range” is given for average new car CO2 emissions by 2003, i.e. ACEA members should make every effort to achieve collectively an intermediate CO2 emission target in the range of 165-170 g/km CO2 by 2003.

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