EU Countries Back Truck Emissions Law After German Delay

By Reuters
EU Countries Back Truck Emissions Law After German Delay

European Union (EU) countries voted on Friday to pass a law to reduce emissions from trucks in an effort to meet environmental goals.

The vote went ahead despite late demands from Germany threatening to sink the policy.

The law will enforce a 90% cut in CO2 emissions from heavy-duty vehicles by 2040. It still needs approval from the European Parliament before it enters into force.

The move is the latest in a string of last-minute disruptions to EU laws caused by disagreements within Germany’s three-way coalition.

A reinforced majority of EU countries approved the law after the vote was postponed from earlier in the week.


Added Preamble

EU countries agreed to add a preamble to the law which said the European Commission would consider developing rules to register trucks running on CO2 neutral fuels. These could then count towards targets.

Diplomats informed Reuters of this preamble saying it was a move to win Germany’s backing in the vote.

The Commission is not obliged to come up with these rules, but they will consider them.

Should the rule be included, it could allow countries to count more combustion engine trucks that run on CO2 neutral fuels towards targets, rather than switching to electric vehicles.

Climate neutral e-fuels, like e-kerosene, are made by synthesising captured CO2 emissions and hydrogen.


The stipulation in the law was requested by Germany’s Free Democrat (FDP) Transport Minister Volker Wissing. Neither the environmental or transport ministries would comment on the reasons for the delayed vote earlier in the week.


It is unusual for countries to ask for a change in EU law at such a late stage.

Negotiators and the European Parliament had agreed on a deal about truck emissions last month that was supposed to be final, but fighting within the German government has delayed numerous EU laws.

On Friday, Germany abstained from voting on a supply chain law, citing fears that it would create bureaucracy and legal uncertainties. Italy also abstained.

The vote on the law, which would require large companies to check their supply chains for environmental damage and rights abuses, was postponed.

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