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EU new car CO2 emissions drop 10.8% since 1995

CO2 emissions from new cars sold in the EU dropped by 10.8% between 1995 and 2002, according to the 4th Annual Report on CO2 Emissions from New Cars, adopted by the European Commission yesterday.

The EU's goal is to reach a 35% reduction to an average 140 g/km by 2010 at the latest. While the EC believes European and Japanese carmakers are on track in meeting their commitments, the EC says the Korean car industry is still lagging behind. The commitments of the European, Japanese and Korean car manufacturer's associations to reduce CO2 emissions to 140 grams per kilometre by 2008/2009 form the cornerstone in the EU's 1995 strategy to reduce CO2 emissions from new passenger cars from 186g/km in 1995 to 120g/km by 2010 at the latest.

Korean manufacturers have fallen behind European and Japanese competitors partly because they've been behind in diesel development, since diesel cars are not permitted in their home market. However, the EC has warned ACEA, JAMA and KAMA not to seek to meet the 20008/9 target solely by increasing diesel share only, but through technological developments and market changes linked to these developments.

The EC is concerned that many Member States will fail to meet their new 24-hour limit values for particulate matter concentrations when they enter into force in 2005. Thus, reducing the emission of diesel particulates is an EU priority, assuming the current fleet mix does not change, and even more so if the diesel share should increase further. The necessary technology (notably diesel filters) is available. Recently, the Commission started working on new emission limits for cars (EURO 5), which will be applicable around 2010.

Meanwhile, negotiations on future CO2 reductions have just started. At the end of last year, ACEA and JAMA submitted reports reviewing the potential to move beyond their target of 140g CO2/km to be reached by 2008 and 2009, respectively. By committing themselves to new targets after 2008/2009, they would help the EU reach its own target of 120 CO2/km. The Commission is currently studying the reports and intends to publish its view in a few months' time.

The EC wants to achieve the EU target of 120g/km through its existing 1999 legislation on fuel economy labeling, and by a future directive requiring other member states to tax cars with reference to emissions, as so far, only the UK does. The proposal has met opposition from some Member States, but he Commission is due to make a fresh proposal on future passenger car taxation this year.

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