The EU Thursday agreed on new air pollution legislation that includes stricter CO₂ emission standards for cars and a goal to phase out CO₂ emitting vehicles by 2035.
The legislation was proposed as part of the revised Ambient Air Quality Directives by the EU Commission on October 26, and a provisional agreement between the Council and the European Parliament was reached on October 27. The agreement will enforce “stricter CO₂ emission performance standards for cars and vans requiring all newly registered cars and vans to be zero-emission from 2035.” The legislation comes as the next step in the European Green Deal policy to achieve zero net emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050.
Air pollution is the “greatest environmental threat to health,” reported the EU Commission, and “nearly 300,000 Europeans die prematurely from air pollution each year.” The new legislation is set to reduce these figures by more than 75 percent. It will be up to the local and national authorities in EU member states to enforce these improvements in air pollution and implement new measures in their respective countries in order to meet these new standards.
Alongside stricter air pollution directives, the Commission proposed new legislation to combat water pollution. In line with guidelines of the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Commission set out laws to protect surface and groundwater against new water pollutants and to establish better and more cost-effective treatment of urban wastewater. The Commission considers the new provisions as a “key advance” towards “an environment free of harmful pollution” as they work towards becoming the first climate-neutral continent.