Carmakers "need to do more on CO2 emissions"

First official report shows European, Japanese, Korean, associations falling short of targets

Car makers will have to step up their efforts to reduce average carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from new vehicles to meet targets set in voluntary agreements signed with the EU in 1998 and 1999, the European Commission said today.

The European Automobile Manufacturers Association (Acea), along with its Japanese and Korean counterparts, Jama and Kama, have agreed to reduce average CO2 emissions from new passenger cars by 25%. From a starting point of 186 grams per kilometre (g/km) in 1995, the target is 140 g/km by 2008 in the case of Acea (ENDS Daily 6 October 1998) and by 2009 for Jama and Kama (ENDS Daily 13 October 1999).

According to the Commission's first annual report on the deal, covering the period 1995-99, cuts are being achieved but are so far not big enough. To reach their targets, all three associations would have to cut emissions by 2% per year on average, it says. But over the first reporting period Acea managed annual improvements of only 1.5%, Jama 1.15% and Kama just 0.4%. This means that the achievements of the three associations so far are emission cuts of 6%, 4.6% and 1.5% respectively, the Commission added.

Despite the gap between the target and achievements so far, the Commission remained upbeat about the voluntary agreements' potential to contribute fully to the EU's overall goal of cutting average emissions from new cars to 120 g/km by 2010. Progress so far "shows that industry is increasingly willing and ready to play an active part in protecting the environment," said EU environment commissioner Margot Wallström.

Giovanni Margaria of Acea told ENDS Daily that the pace of improvement was dependent on the introduction of new technologies, notably petrol direct injection, and that it was "not realistic" to have the same reduction rate every year. Mr Margaria suggested that the slower rate of change achieved by Korean firms car manufacturers probably reflected their high market share of heavier and four-wheel drive vehicles on the European market.

Follow Up:
European Commission, tel: +32 2 299 1111, and press release.

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