EU to cut car emissions to meet climate targets, rival China

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European Union
AFP / MARCO BERTORELLO The EU wants much stricter emissions standards

The European Union on Wednesday proposed sharp automobile emission cuts over the next decade to support the Paris climate accord and compete with China by spurring electric car production.

The European Commission, the EU executive, called for cutting carbon dioxide emissions from cars and vans by 30 percent by 2030 and 15 percent by 2025, compared with 2021.

The proposal has to be approved by the 28 member states and the European Parliament.

“We need to act to meet our global climate commitments and cut our oil dependence,” EU Climate and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete told a press conference.

He said a rise in road transport emissions since 1990 is “clearly at odds” with EU pledges to cut greenhouse gases under the 2015 Paris climate agreement.

“We need to act to keep Europe’s car industry competitive and innovative,” Canete added as he introduced a proposal aimed at promoting hybrid and electric car production.

“We will lose technological leadership in clean vehicles if the United States, Japan and China keep accelerating away from us,” he warned.

Canete also said the commission aims to “restore consumers’ trust” after German carmaker Volkswagen admitted in 2015 to cheating on diesel vehicle emissions tests.

Many other carmakers have since fallen under suspicion.

Emissions from diesel cars rigged to appear eco-friendly may be responsible for 5,000 air pollution deaths per year in Europe alone, according to a study published in September by the journal Environmental Research Letters.