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A new report commissioned by Transport & Environment (T&E), the Brussels-based campaign group, says that investment in lower carbon vehicles could stimulate the creation of over 100,000 jobs in the European Union. The report - Low Carbon Vehicles: Good for EU Employment - by Dutch consultancy CE Delft, reviewed a large number of recent studies on the employment impacts of GHG reduction policies for transport.
The report’s findings are based on a review of 23 existing research reports commissioned by governments and lobby groups and is published ahead of EU discussions which will set out how vehicle manufacturers should meet an emissions target of 95 gCO2/km by 2020.
The report found both direct and indirect impacts on employment. For example, an increase in the fuel efficiency of cars with internal combustion engines may lead to more direct employment in the car industry because their manufacture is more labour intensive. However, this impact was found to be dependent on the competiveness of the industry in Europe.
T&E's Greg Archer said: “The US recently announced its plans to double fuel economy by 2025. In Europe the planned improvement is around a third; that’s good, but not good enough. Without tougher CO2 targets, European carmakers risk losing their competitive edge in the global markets.
"We want a 2020 target of 80g/km and 60g/km by 2025. This would drive advanced technologies into the market and ensure Europe retains its leadership”.
T&E's press release notes that the EU's own figures say that regulations to encourage the introduction of low carbon cars will boost the EU economy by an average €12bn per year between 2020-2030, thanks to much lower fuel consumption resulting from the tougher CO2 targets. It also forecasts annual expenditure on labour will increase by €9bn. This is because vehicle manufacturing is labour intensive while fuels are mostly made from imported oil and need fewer jobs.
T&E says that flexibilities in the EU's current regulatory proposal will reduce the benefits A key flexibility is the proposal which extends to 2023 the system of over-rewarding sales of electric vehicles, known as “supercredits”. T&E says that this will weaken the CO2 target and that it would be much more effective to require carmakers to sell at least 2.5% of vehicles with ultra-low emissions by 2020. Those manufacturers that overachieved the sales target would be rewarded through a relaxation of their overall CO2 target.
T&E adds that the report dispels industry’s claims that reducing CO2 emissions from cars would have a negative impact on automotive jobs and competitiveness in Europe. It also highlights that money saved through using fuel more efficiently increases consumers’ disposable income, which in turn creates extra jobs across the EU economy.