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Parliament of European Union approved CO2 emission restrictions for commercial vans

Jan 15, 2014 09:34 IST

The Parliament of Europe approved new carbon dioxide restrictions for commercial vans on 14 January 2014 that will slash emissions by 28 percent from 2020.

Under the rules are all new light commercial vehicles sold across the European Union (EU) will emit a maximum 147 grammes of carbon dioxide per kilometre instead of 203 grammes as per the level set in 2007. The legislation would be reviewed in 2015.

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As per the Climate Commissioner of Europe Connie Hedegaard, the set target of emission is accessible and is not too expensive for manufacturers. The European Commission said that the 12 percent of emissions is done by vans of the European market for light-duty vehicles. These emissions contribute for 1.5 percent of total European Union carbon dioxide emissions. Similar scheme will be voted by the lawmakers of Europe in February 2014. The scheme will limit carbon dioxide emissions in new passenger cars that have been held up by concerns in Germany that has a powerful auto industry.


Earlier in November 2013, Berlin agreed to the scheme of reduction of emission of CO2 to 95 grammes per kilometer for 2020. Also the European Union has set a target of emissions by new cars to 130 grammes of Co2 per kilometer by 2015. This emission target symbolises 18 percent improvement over the standards set in 2007.  

Reduction of carbon dioxide emissions from light commercial vehicles

In 2007, the European Council made a firm undertaking to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent by 2020. This Regulation forms part of that initiative by setting limits for the CO2 emissions from light commercial vehicles, whilst maintaining the competitiveness of the European automotive industry. Transport is one of the European Union's (EU) foremost common policies. This Decision contributes to meeting the commitment made by the European Union to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent by 2020 in relation to 1990 levels.

Reduction in greenhouse gas emissions as priority objective: Reducing greenhouse gases is a key component of European action. The EU has a monitoring mechanism in place to keep regular track of emissions and the absorption of these gases. With a view to gradually reducing emissions the EU has also established a system based on market rules, a greenhouse gas emissions trading scheme and specific rules on fluorinated greenhouse gases.

The 20 percent target: three types of actual and possible consequences of the 20 percent reduction target

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Actual consequences of the financial crisis: the financial crisis which began in 2008 brought a 14 percent reduction in emissions compared to 1990 levels. However, as production recovers, these figures cannot be completely relied upon as they represent an exceptional situation. The European Commission recently carried out an analysis of the estimated cost of achieving the 20 percent targets, taking the recession into account. It emerged that the cost of implementing these objectives decreased by 30 percent in comparison to the 2008 estimates. Nevertheless, the crisis had negative consequences for undertakings’ competitiveness, which means that investment is still required in order to achieve the 20 percent reduction target.

Actual consequences of the green revolution: as a result of the crisis, certain investors decided to turn to less energy-greedy infrastructures. For example, in 2009 renewable energies accounted for 61 percent of new electricity generating capacity in the European Union (EU). However, competition is fierce in this field and the EU must maintain its competitiveness in relation to countries such as China and the United States.

Possible consequences of staying under a 2°C global temperature increase: to achieve the goal of staying under a 2°C global temperature increase, the EU must reduce emissions on its territory by 70 percent compared to 1990 levels. The International Energy Agency has estimated that at the global level, every year of delayed investment on more low-carbon energy sources adds EUR 300-400 billion to the price tag.

Eco-innovation:
Suppliers or manufacturers may reduce their CO2 emissions by using innovative technologies which may contribute up to 7 grams of CO2/km.

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