Results of the review of the Community Strategy to reduce CO2 emissions from passenger cars and light-commercial vehicles

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Courtesy of European Commission, Environment DG

The EU is at the forefront of international efforts to combat climate change and must deliver the reductions in greenhouse gas emissions to which it has committed under the Kyoto Protocol. The Commission proposed in January 2007 that 'the EU pursues in the context of international negotiations the objective of a 30% reduction in GHG emissions by developed countries by 2020 (compared to 1990 levels)' and that 'the EU should already now take on a
firm independent commitment to achieve at least a 20% reduction of GHG emissions by 2020 (compared to 1990 levels)'. To avoid distortions, and for the sake of economic and social fairness, all sectors must contribute to the reduction effort.

Cars are an important part of the everyday lives of a large number of Europeans, and the automotive industry is a significant source of employment and growth in many regions of the EU. However, car usage has significant impacts on climate change, with about 12% of the overall EU emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), the main greenhouse gas, coming from the fuel consumed by passenger cars. Even though there have been significant improvements in vehicle technology – in particular in fuel efficiency which also means lower CO2 emissions - this has not been enough to neutralise the effect of increased traffic and car size. While the EU as a whole has reduced its emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) by just under 5% over the 1990-2004 period, the CO2 emissions from road transport have increased by 26%.

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