Cars are seen at Kaiserdamm street, which could be affected by a court hearing on case seeking diesel cars ban in Berlin, Germany. -Reuters
European Union nations, voicing concern over a UN report on global warming, agreed on Tuesday to seek a 35 percent cut in car emissions by 2030, as Germany warned that overly challenging targets risked harming industry and jobs.
Torn between reducing pollution and preserving industry competitiveness, EU environment ministers meeting in Luxembourg talked for more than 13 hours until nearly midnight to reach a compromise over what 2030 carbon dioxide limits to impose on Europe's powerful carmakers.
The final rules will now be hashed out in talks beginning on Wednesday with the EU's two other lawmaking bodies: the European Parliament, which is seeking a more ambitious climate target, and the European Commission, which proposed a lower one.
In a joint statement earlier, the EU ministers expressed deep concern over a UN report calling for rapid and unprecedented action to contain global warming but held back from increasing their pledge to reduce emissions under the 2015 Paris climate accord.
Several countries had sought a higher, 40 percent reduction in car emissions, in line with targets backed by EU lawmakers last week, with Ireland and the Netherlands among those voicing disappointment with the compromise deal. Germany, with its big auto sector, had backed an EU executive proposal for a 30 percent cut for fleets of new cars and vans by 2030, compared with 2021 levels.
Climate campaigners say Germany has still not learned to be tougher on the auto industry, despite the scandal that engulfed Volkswagen in 2015 when it admitted to using illegal software to mask emissions on up to 11 million diesel vehicles worldwide.
Germany, with the backing of eastern European nations, had held a blocking minority among the 28 nations against the more ambitious targets, EU sources said. But a last-minute amendment helped ease concerns among poorer member states over the new rules, which also create a crediting system encouraging carmakers to raise sales of electric cars.
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