10 Feb 2020, 13:31
Benjamin Wehrmann

German government urges EU to not tighten vehicle emissions limits

Zeit Online / dpa / n-tv / Clean Energy Wire

The car industry should remain exempt from plans by the European Commission to increase the European 2030 emissions reduction target, Germany's economy minister Peter Altmaier has said in a letter to the EU Commission's vice president, Frans Timmermans, news website Zeit Online reports. Existing emissions limits for vehicles already have "eliminated all leeway for a further tightening", Altmaier's letter read, urging the Commission to leave regulation for the car industry unchanged until 2030 in the context of the Commission's Green Deal. Reliable planning conditions would be "of the highest value and indispensable for keeping Europe attractive as an investment destination" for money coming from outside of the bloc, Altmaier wrote, thereby reiterating the German car industry's position, the article says.
In a different article by news agency dpa carried by news website n-tv, environment minister Svenja Schulze also rejected tighter car emissions limits. An environment ministry spokesperson said that the limit values introduced in 2019 "are very ambitious" and would "remain in place."
Environmental NGO Greenpeace commented that Schulze's reaction puts her climate credentials into question. "For years, the carmakers have done nothing to reduce CO2 emissions and now they urgently need to make progress," Greenpeace's Tobias Austrup said in an e-mailed statement. "The fleet emissions limit values planned so far are not enough," Austrup said, adding that policymakers have to make it clear to car producers that combustion engines have no future.

Under the current target, the average vehicle fleet emissions for newly registered cars must not exceed 95 grams of CO2 per kilometre by 2021, a limit the car industry very likely will overstep. Current planning foresees that average emissions must fall to 60 grams per kilometre by 2030. Despite plans to massively ramp up the production of electric cars over the next years, Germany's carmakers still are overwhelmingly reliant on selling combustion engine cars and are among the world's most active anti-climate action lobbyists, according to NGO researchers.

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