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EU Parliament backs plans for zero emissions for cars and vans in 2035


Exhast pipe Photo: Shutterstock
MEPs have backed revised CO2 emissions standards for new passenger cars and light commercial vehicles, with final legislation expected to be agreed in autumn

Photo: Shutterstock

Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have backed revised CO2 emissions standards for new passenger cars and light commercial vehicles, part of the European Commission’s (EC) ‘Fit for 55 in 2030’ package.

It is proposed to reach zero emission road mobility by 2035 – an EU fleet-wide target to reduce the emissions produced by new passenger cars and light commercial vehicles by 100% compared to 2021. Intermediate emissions reduction targets for 2030 would be set at 55% for cars and 50% for vans.


The MEPs also proposed:  

  • Removing the incentive mechanism for zero and low emission vehicles (ZLEV), stating it no longer serves its original purpose.
  • Publication of a report by the EC on the progress towards zero emission road mobility by the end of 2025 and on a yearly basis thereafter, covering the impact on consumers and employment, the level of renewable energy use as well as information on the market for second-hand vehicles.
  • Gradually reducing the cap for eco-innovation, in line with the proposed stricter targets – the existing 7 gCO2/km limit should remain until 2024, followed by 5 gCO2/km from 2025, 4 gCO2/km from 2027 and 2 gCO2/km until the end of 2034.
  • A report by the EC, by the end of 2023, detailing the need for targeted funding to ensure a just transition in the automotive sector, to mitigate negative employment and other economic impacts.
  • A common EU methodology by the EC, by 2023, for assessing the full life cycle of CO2 emissions of cars and vans placed on the EU market, as well as for the fuels and energy consumed by these vehicles.


The MEPs’ proposals are scheduled to be adopted during the 28 June plenary sitting and will constitute Parliament’s negotiating position with EU governments on the final shape of the legislation, which is expected to be agreed in autumn.


Commenting on the MEP’s proposals, rapporteur Jan Huitema, Renew Europe Group, said: ‘An ambitious revision of CO2 standards is a crucial part of reaching our climate targets. With these standards, we are creating clarity for the car industry and can stimulate innovation and investments for car manufacturers. In addition, purchasing and driving zero emission cars will become cheaper for consumers. I am thrilled that the European Parliament has backed an ambitious revision of the targets for 2030 and supported a 100% target for 2035, which is crucial to reach climate neutrality by 2050.’


Parliament agrees to higher EU carbon sink ambitions by 2030
MEPs have also supported increasing the target for carbon sinks in land use, land use change and the forestry sector (LULUCF) to at least 310mn tCO2eq, de facto raising the EU’s 2030 greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction target to 57% and helping improve biodiversity and reforestation.


MEPs also proposed setting-up a ‘natural disturbances’ mechanism from 2026–2030, available to Member States who did not reach their annual targets due to so-called natural disturbances such as forest fires.


Finally, they reaffirmed their position that natural carbon sinks are fragile and volatile, and therefore, contrary to the EC’s proposal, should not be pooled with emissions from the agricultural sector.


LULUCF is part of the Fit for 55 in 2030 package, which is the EU’s plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 % by 2030 compared to 1990 levels in line with the European Climate Law.