CLEPA | A #GreenJustANDResilient mobility transition matters in the European Parliament, Committee votes prove

As we look ahead to the 7 June Plenary vote in the European Parliament on CO2 standards for cars and vans, the needs of citizens should be considered in relation to how we reach climate-neutral mobility, providing affordable options, choice, and the same convenience and quality of life that Europeans expect. To do so, we must deploy all effective and efficient solutions which work for the climate, for citizens, and protect the competitiveness of our industries.

in CLEPA, by Sigrid de Vries, 24-05-2022

With the ‘Fit for 55’ package last July, the European Commission laid out its proposal to put the EU on the trajectory towards climate neutrality by 2050. Defossilising the transport sector, which is responsible for about a quarter of the EU’s COemissions, is seen as critical to reaching this goal. One of the main levers to reduce emissions from the automotive industry specifically, is the CO2 standards for cars and vans. Various amendments to the Commission’s proposal are now being debated in the Parliament, chief of which are the target itself, a fuel credit scheme, and Life-Cycle Assessment (LCA).

Automotive suppliers are fully behind the trend towards electrification, but the transition needs to be properly managed. Members of European Parliament and Council of the European Union are increasingly aware of the fact that the transformation must focus on the environment, but it must also strike the right balance between the social and industrial dimensions. In other words, it should be green, just AND resilient.

The internal combustion engine (ICE) is still very much a point of discussion. The encouraging results of the recent vote in the ENVI Committee on CO2 standards for cars and vans keep the door open in the Plenary to recognise the contribution that advanced ICEs can play in the transition toward climate-neutral mobility through the use of sustainable renewable fuels.

As I previously pointed out in my February Editorial, after the enthusiasm initially triggered by the ‘Fit for 55’ package, a more sensible and pragmatic approach began to take hold within the  EU institutions and in the automotive sector. Recent developments only confirm this trend toward prudence.

Indeed, all amendments in the ENVI Committee were rejected, both those in favour of stricter standards proposed by the Rapporteur and those in favour of an adjusted 90% CO2 emissions target in 2035, compared to 2021 levels. The latter passed both in the ITRE and TRAN Committees ahead of the ENVI vote, indicating broad support for technology openness.

All three Committees approved the request to the Commission to develop a full life-cycle methodology for assessing vehicles’ CO2 emissions. This is a clear indication that the current tailpipe-only measurement for CO2 is insufficient for assessing the true carbon footprint of a vehicle.

Following the IPCC’s recent report calling for an LCA methodology, and the Green NCAP’s first trial at developing a comprehensive LCA methodology for consumers to determine how green their vehicle truly is, it appears that the Parliament is following suit and confirming the merits of CLEPA’s longstanding position on the need for a comprehensive approach to the COmeasurement of a car, putting all powertrain technologies on a level playing field. A well-to-wheel approach, which takes into account how the energy is produced to power a vehicle, would be a good first step to a full LCA.

The ongoing war in Ukraine is also pushing Europe to reconsider its energy dependence on Russia. Indeed, we have to keep our options open, let businesses adapt to their local and regional realities, and deploy a wide variety of technologies that rely on different materials and energy sources. As Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency said this week at the World Economic Forum in Davos, “The world does not need to choose between an energy crisis and a climate crisis,” and I couldn’t agree more.

The REpowerEU plan presented last week by the European Commission also envisaged massive investments to support the production of renewable transport fuels. In this regard, the adoption of a voluntary fuel credit scheme for renewable fuels in Plenary – also recommended by the TRAN Committee – would be an important and needed step towards incentivising the investments and market scale-up of these fuels.

The impact of the ongoing supply chain issues – not only as a result of the war in Ukraine, but also the Chinese lockdowns – are leading the industry to take a more cautious approach. Several EV manufacturers, including Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk, have had to revise their sales targets due to higher raw material prices and continued supply chain disruptions.

CLEPA has been advocating for technology openness on CO2 standards in order to empower innovation, people and EU competitiveness. If you ban technologies, you place constraints and limitations on resources, on choice, on jobs and on the economy. Ban fossil fuels, not technologies. Let’s leverage decades of investments in the advanced ICE technology while scaling up our battery value chain and infrastructure.

Let the crisis we now face be the ultimate push to leave options open. The enormity of what’s at stake requires of us to be flexible, as clearly there is no crystal ball on what lies ahead. If there is one lesson from all of this, it’s that diversification is key. The ambitious target of carbon-neutral mobility cannot be accomplished with just one prescribed technology but rather complementary solutions.

The role of the European Parliament is precisely to act as an intermediary between the institutions and EU citizens, and we hope that on 7 June, MEPs put people at the centre of the transition and truly leave no one behind.


Sigrid de Vries

CLEPA’s Secretary General


No majority for stricter CO2 targets in the ENVI Committee – CLEPA Secretary General, Sigrid de Vries, comments on the vote regarding CO2 standards for cars and vans

The European Parliament’s Committee of Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) has today in essence confirmed the Commission’s proposal on CO2 standards for new passenger cars and light-duty commercial vehicles. In a surprising turn of events, the committee rejected both possible compromise amendments, a set of stricter targets proposed by the rapporteur and a target of 90% in 2035 supported by the centre-right EPP and ECR groups.

in CLEPA, 11-05-2022

Ms Sigrid de Vries, Secretary General of CLEPA, the association of the automotive supply industry in Europe, says:

“Today’s vote does not suggest that there is a majority for stricter targets than those proposed by the European Commission, which already risk half a million auto supplier jobs in the powertrain domain by 2040. A 100% target measured at the tailpipe is a de facto ban on the internal combustion engine, discarding years of European innovation in a technology that can be climate-neutral and is needed for a manageable and efficient transition.”

Members of the ENVI Committee adopted a request to the Commission to develop a methodology for measuring life-cycle emissions of vehicles but voted against a proposal to recognise emission reduction via renewable fuels, which had been approved by the TRAN Committee. Ms de Vries states:

“Recognition of renewable fuels for compliance with the CO2 targets would be a first step on the way to a holistic approach for measuring the emissions of vehicles, as called for by the committee. A fully developed, concrete proposal is on the table. It is the solution to achieve a high-level of ambition without the negative side effects on employment, choice, and affordable mobility.”

Proposals voted today are expected to be tabled again in the Plenary. The final vote on the CO2 standards proposal in the Plenary is planned to take place in June.