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CO2 Emission Performance Standards for HDVs political agreement vote




A missed opportunity to recognise renewable fuels and speed up transport decarbonisation.

On the 9th of February, the COREPER adopted the political agreement on CO2 emission performance standards for new heavy-duty vehicles (Regulation EU 2019/1242), missing the opportunity to provide the sector with a methodology able to account for the contribution of renewable fuels, such as biomethane, in the decarbonisation of the segment. Despite the emergence of climate mitigation policies, EU road transport emissions increased over the last decades, and are projected to decrease below the targets set by the Regulation. Even with 50% sales of battery electric heavy-duty vehicles (BEV HDVs) in 2030, about 90% of the rolling fleet will use an internal combustion engine (ICE) powertrain. It is thus of paramount importance that this fleet is allowed to run on renewable fuels to drastically reduce their emissions. A Carbon Correction Factor (CCF) and a CO2 Neutral Fuels methodology are straightforward solutions supported by the industry to allow for the fast decarbonisation of road transport embracing all renewable vectors, including biomethane, and offering more security against market disruption, over-reliance on third countries, consumer cost increases and employment risks. The final agreement does not provide for the right drivers to decarbonise the heavy-duty segment rapidly and cost-efficiently: while the biogas and biomethane industry is asked to significantly scale-up its production, the agreement closes the door to biomethane use in the segment. Indeed, road transport is not only one of the most important end-uses for biomethane at present, but it is also vital to the scaleup and uptake of this sustainable energy in hard to abate sectors, including maritime and aviation. Following consultation with stakeholders, the Commission will, within a year from entry into force of this regulation, assess the role of a methodology for registering HDV exclusively running on CO2 neutral fuels, in conformity with Union law and with Union climate neutrality objective.  Giulia Laura Cancian, EBA Secretary General said: “The biomethane sector is a solid and readily available solution to swiftly curb transport emissions. Unfortunately, the current agreement does not recognise the great contribution of this sustainable vector. Nevertheless, EBA looks forward to contributing to the assessment of the role of a CCF and of methodology for registering HDVs exclusively running on CO2 neutral fuels.
Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

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