Automobile Industry Voluntary Agreements, EU & Car Manufacturers
The automobile industry has committed to reducing average CO2 emissions from passenger cars sold in the EU by 25% compared to 1990 emissions by 2008. Negotiations for this agreement began in 1996 and the final text was published in 1999. This voluntary agreement is the main mechanism in Europe in place to reduce greenhouse gases from the passenger road transport sector. It is one of three pillars implementing the Community's strategy to reduce CO2 emissions from passenger cars. The other two consist of fuel economy labelling and fiscal measures.
In Europe in 1999 a voluntary agreement was signed between the European automobile manufacturers (ACEA) and the European Commission to reduce CO2 emissions from passenger cars. It was published in the Recommendation of the European Commission (1999/125/EC). The Korean (KAMA) and Japanese (JAMA) manufacturers adopted an equivalent agreement with the Commission in 2000.
As part of the agreement, ACEA, and later JAMA and KAMA, made the following commitments:
- To reduce average CO2 emissions from passenger cars sold in the EU to 140g/km by 2008
- To bring to the market by 2000 some individual car models with CO2 emissions of less than 120g/km;
- To achieve an intermediate target range of 165 - 170g CO2 g/km by 2003;
- To review in 2003 the potential for additional improvements with a view to moving the new car fleet average further towards 120g CO2 g/km by 2012;
- To undertake annual joint ACEA/Commission monitoring of all the relevant factors related to the commitments (ACEA and the Commission Services, 2002).
All new passenger cars sold in the EU.
Member States are responsible for collecting CO2 data for new passenger cars registered for the first time. The European Commission has overall responsibility for monitoring the Commitment.
Monitoring and Enforcement
A monitoring decision was passed in 2000, which provided the framework for the monitoring of this agreement (European Parliament and Council, 2000). This requires Member States to collect CO2 emissions information for each new car sold. They are responsible for the validation and quality of the data collected. Each Member State is required to calculate the number of newly registered passenger cars, the average specific emissions of CO2; and in some cases the average mass, engine capacity and net power of newly registered passenger cars. This information is transmitted annually to the Commission, beginning in January 2001. For each calendar year, the Commission submits to the European Parliament and to the Council a report based on the monitoring data it receives from the Member States, which is published. The reports for the intermediate target years and the final target years should indicate whether the reductions are due to technical measures taken by the manufacturers or to other measures such as changes in consumer behaviour. The European Commission is currently performing the intended 2003 review of the Commitment for the intermediate target. However since 2003 data will only become available in the coming months the published evaluation is not foreseen before the end of 2004.The original Recommendation on the voluntary agreement included the clause that no additional fiscal measures were needed to help the vehicle manufacturers achieve its CO22 objective for 2008 in its Commitment or not make sufficient progress towards this objective (as measured in particular against the estimated target range for 2003 in the Commitment), and should the Commission not be satisfied that such failure is due to factors for which' the manufacturers could not be held responsible.
By 2002, the average of the new car fleet CO2 emissions from European, Japanese and Korean cars sold in the EU had reduced to 166g/km comprising an 10.7% reduction from 1995 levels (186g/km). The European car manufacturers estimate that this has led to a reduction of approximately 35 million tonnes in CO2 emissions. The further reductions that will need to be made in order to reach the target of 140g/km will become increasingly difficult and more costly. From 1995-2002 a cut in CO2 emissions of 1.5% per year was achieved. However, it is estimated that for the period up to 2008, reductions in emissions must continue at a rate of 2% per year to meet the 140g/km target. In 2004 emissions fell on average by 1.8% in 2004 to a level of 160gram/km. Annual 3.3% improvements are needed to meet the target of 140gram/km by 2008/9 (Acid News, 2005). In the last year the reduction achieved by European manufacturers slowed, whereas Japanese and Korean manufacturers showed continuing improvement. Sales of vehicles meeting the 120g/km target of the EU have been rising; over 580,000 were sold by European manufacturers and 44,000 by Japanese manufacturers in 2002. Technological changes and related market changes have been the main measures used by vehicle manufacturers to achieve the reductions in CO2 emissions. This has led to an increased dieselisation of the passenger car fleet in Europe - in 2002 over 40% of new cars sold to the market in EU were diesel (CEC, 2004).
Japanese and Korean manufacturers' voluntary agreements are the same as that of the European manufacturers - all the VA are in operation for the EU region. The only difference is that the Japanese and Korean manufacturers have until 2009 to reach their targets (the Europeans only have until 2008).
Acid News, 2005, No.2 June, 10.
Commission of the European Communities, 2004. Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament. Implementing the Community Strategy to Reduce CO2 Emissions from Cars: Fourth Annual Report on the effectiveness of the strategy. (Reporting year 2002). COM(2004)78 final.
Commission of the European Communities, 1999. Commission Recommendation on the Reduction of CO2 Emissions from Passenger Cars. 1999/125/EC. Available at:
European Parliament and Council, 2000. Establishing a scheme to monitor the average specific emissions of CO2 from new passenger cars. Decision No 1753/2000/EC. Available at: http://europa.eu.int/comm/environment/CO2/CO2_monitoring.htm