Automakers Can Use Green Innovation To Offset Their Carbon Targets, EU Says

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BRUSSELS—The European Commission July 25 adopted a technical law setting out details of how automakers can use “eco-innovations” for cars sold in the European Union to meet vehicle emissions reduction targets.

The law is an “implementing regulation” arising from Regulation (EC) 443/2009, which requires manufacturers of passenger cars sold in the European Union to reduce the vehicles’ carbon dioxide emissions on average to 130 grams per kilometer (7.4 ounces per mile). The limit, which was agreed to at the end of 2008, will be phased in between 2012 and 2015 (32 INER 5, 1/7/09).

According to the implementing regulation, automakers can offset their carbon emissions target by up to 7 grams per kilometer (0.4 ounces per mile) if they fit new cars with an emissions-cutting device or technology that “contributes to significant CO2 savings and is not otherwise taken into account in determining the level of CO2 emissions from vehicles.”

In guidelines published at the same time as the implementing regulation, the Commission noted that “eco-innovations” should be new to the market and should be related to vehicle propulsion systems.

Eco-innovations could include devices that reduce vehicle electricity requirements and thus fuel consumption, better energy storage systems, or devices that use “external energy flows” such as solar or wind energy, the Commission said.

Rewarding the introduction of vehicle eco-innovations would give automakers “a greater incentive to invest in new technologies that reduce CO2 emissions from new cars,” the Commission said.

The regulation was adopted by the Commission following a process known as comitology, in which technical legislation is agreed on by committees of EU member state experts.

The regulation will come into force when it is published in the European Union's Official Journal, a process that normally takes a few weeks, to allow for translation into the bloc's 23 official languages.

By Stephen Gardner

The European Commission website on reducing vehicle carbon dioxide emissions through eco-innovation is available at .