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Connie Hedegaard

European Commissioner for Climate Action

European Parliament vote to cut CO2 emissions from vans

Plenary Session at the European Parliament

Strasbourg, 15 February 2011

Mr President, Honourable Members,

First of all, I would like to congratulate the Rapporteur
Mr CALLANAN and the shadow-Rapporteurs on their efforts in reaching agreement on the Commission proposal on light commercial vehicles. In the aftermath of the economic downturn, these discussions were indeed difficult.

And let me be clear: The compromise package resulting from these inter-institutional discussions is less ambitious than the Commission proposal on a number of points. Mainly, full compliance with the short term target is delayed by one year, the level of the penalty for non-compliance – the so-called excess emissions premium – has been lowered, and the ambition of the long-term target decreased. It will therefore not come as a surprise to any of you if I say that I would have preferred a more ambitious outcome. And many of you probably share this view.

Nevertheless, this compromise still represents an important step forward.

By 2020, it will bring down the average CO2 emissions of vans from the 2007 baseline of 203 grams CO2 per km to 147 grams CO2 per km. This will mean an average emission reduction in the vans fleet of 56 grams CO2 per km or 28% over 13 years. In view of the expected growing demand for light commercial vehicles, the increased efficiency will represent an important contribution to the reduction of transport emissions.

The compromise will also generate lifetime net savings for consumers, mainly small and medium enterprises, of over 2.200 Euro per vehicle. Moreover, the targets will stimulate innovation in industry and enable manufacturers to take advantage of the transition to a low-carbon economy and thus enhance their long-term competitiveness. Let's not forget that this regulation should give manufacturers a first mover advantage in world markets where similar CO2 standards are likely to follow and the demand for efficient vehicles is expected to rise.

In addition, this Regulation will close an important regulatory gap between cars and vans, and therefore minimise potential perverse effects on the Regulation on CO2 in passenger cars. Large cars will not be able to escape the CO2 emission standards simply by changing the vehicles category into a van when type-approved.

Finally, as you know, transport is today emitting more than in 1990, thus offsetting to a large extent the reductions made in other sectors. This is not sustainable: transport must make a substantial contribution to the EU's overall CO2 targets.

This regulation is another instrument that will help the Member States to meet their 2020 commitments to reduce CO2 from sectors outside the EU ETS.

Honourable Members,

I believe that this agreement is yet another proof of the EU's commitment towards meeting its climate goals and hope that you will lend your support to the compromise package, when you proceed to the vote later today.

Thank you!

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