The changes to EU truck emissions rules

The transport sector in Europe is a major contributor to climate change. In a move towards regulating carbon dioxide emissions, the EU has now agreed on new rules. The agreement has been tweaked a number of times. Now, executives have agreed on a 15% reduction target by the year 2020. Previously, this target was set alongside another target of a 30% reduction by 2030.

This follows talks with the European Parliament earlier in the year; and now, representatives from different member states are expected to begin negotiations with the Commission. Furthermore, in order to combat the transport sector’s effect on emissions, heavy-duty fleets of vehicles will be required to make further cuts. The risk of this has been acknowledged, especially when it comes to public transport.

The European Council has agreed that these regulations should be reviewed in three years. In addition to this, the targets set out by the EU will be reviewed, and possibly altered within the time frame. The 2030 and 2025 goals could also be changed if the progress being made is no sufficient, or if the targets are too damaging for European economies.

This has been hailed as a “sensible approach”, which has been welcomed by industrial groups like The International Road Transport Union (IRU), who say the target “takes into account the role of advanced renewable and synthetic liquid and gaseous fuels used in internal combustion engines”.  The group went on to add, in a statement, that “setting the target before knowing which technologies can meet this ambition is unrealistic”.

Some concerns over the strict targets have also been raised. For instance, the head of the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA), Erik Jonnaert explained that “what is possible for cars is often not an option for trucks”. He continued: “Truck makers are willing to further cut carbon emissions but this should happen at a pace that is realistic, as it will not be possible with today’s technology alone.”

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