EU ministers seek to limit bus, lorry CO2 emissions

Brussels – EU environment ministers were seeking common ground Thursday on efforts to curb harmful emissions from lorries and buses across the European Union, in line with similar ceilings set for cars.

In May, the European Commission proposed reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions for heavy-duty vehicles by 30 per cent compared to 2019 levels.

The European Parliament has put forward a more ambitious 35-per-cent target, drawing criticism from manufacturers.

At present, no such restrictions exist for lorries and buses.

Earlier this week however, EU negotiators struck a deal to cut car emissions by 37.5 per cent by 2030, compared to a 2021 ceiling of 95 grams of CO2 per kilometre.

The ministers are expected Thursday to agree on a common stance before entering into negotiations with the parliament.

“The market for heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) is completely different from that for cars,” German Environment Minister Svenja Schulze said ahead of the talks.

“An HGV can only be sold if it is as efficient as possible and uses as little fuel as possible,” she added, noting that market pressures were an incentive to keep lorries environmentally friendly.

Germany – an important automotive manufacturer – is backing the commission proposal, Schulze added.

Berlin’s stance was overruled in the car emissions negotiations, with the agreed compromise foreseeing greater cuts than those advocated by Berlin.

The targets are part of EU efforts to reduce CO2 emissions and limit global warming.

Vehicle exhaust fumes make up a large share of the emissions linked to climate change.