European Nations Set to Join UK Backsliding on Green Car Rules

European Union nations are pushing to water down tougher restrictions on non-CO2 tailpipe emissions from cars.

(Bloomberg) — European Union nations are pushing to water down tougher restrictions on non-CO2 tailpipe emissions from cars.

Countries in the EU, a trailblazer on environmental regulations, want to weaken so-called Euro 7 rules that aim to cut pollution from cars, according to a document seen by Bloomberg News. While it won’t alter the timeline for phasing out the combustion engine, it highlights concerns some nations have over the potential impact of the green transition.

By next week, EU member states plan to adopt their position on Euro 7 rules, which stiffen exhaust emissions limits for non-CO2 pollutants like carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide. Eight EU nations — including France and Italy — have opposed rules, arguing that carmakers are already under strain to meet the overall goal for electrifying their fleets.

“This proposal is a disaster for air pollution in Europe’s cities,” said Anna Krajinska, manager of vehicle emissions and air quality at climate non-profit Transport and Environment. “By caving into automaker threats, our politicians are condemning people to avoidable ill health and premature death for decades to come.”

The move to water down the emissions rules comes as high inflation and concern over the cost of green reform spur a European backlash against the speed of the transition. UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is weighing deferring by five years to 2035 a ban on the sale of cars powered by diesel and petrol, according to a person familiar with the plan.

Read More: Sunak’s Green U-Turn Angers Tories, Casts Doubt on Net Zero

European automakers have warned that Euro 7 rules — set to come into force from 2025 — will divert resources from investments in electric vehicles as they try to counter an influx of cheaper EVs from China. Stellantis NV Chief Executive Officer Carlos Tavares has said the proposals would lead to higher prices for smaller vehicles, limiting freedom of movement for poorer households. 

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said the EU should drop the Euro 7 standard as it would cost European automakers “useless money” at a crucial time of transition.

EU ambassadors will discuss the rules, which also govern particulates coming from tyres and brakes, again on Friday. The 27-nation bloc has already passed rules effectively banning the sale of new combustion engine cars from 2035.

Once EU countries agree their position on Euro 7, they will enter into negotiations with parliament over the final shape of the deal.

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