Commission's top scientific advisers' publish opinion on how to better measure car CO2 emissions

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Commission's top scientific advisers publish opinion on how to better measure car CO2 emissions

Brussels, 25 November 2016

The High Level Group of the Commission's new Scientific Advice Mechanism (SAM) has published its first opinion. It focuses on enhancing the measurement of CO2 emissions from cars.

The independent group of eminent scientists welcome the introduction of the new emissions testing procedure as from 2017 that is expected to provide more representative CO2 emission measurements. They recommend a regular review of this procedure, complemented by a framework for the monitoring of real driving CO2 emissions including a formal reporting of the fuel consumption of passenger cars. The scientific opinion also calls for enhanced coordination and regulatory oversight across the EU, based on legislation that is designed to stimulate innovation and low carbon technologies.

Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said: "We set up the Group of High-level Scientific Advisers only last year to support policy making with high-quality, independent scientific advice, in line with the Better Regulation Agenda to improve the quality of EU legislation. This is exactly what they have done with this first report. We need to reduce CO2 emissions of cars and vans if we are to achieve climate and sustainability goals, and now we have additional scientific evidence base to mould future climate policies in this area."

Miguel Arias Cañete, Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, said: "Curbing CO2 emissions and more representative measurements will support European and global efforts to decarbonise transport in view of international commitments to combat climate change. An important step has been the adoption of a new emissions testing procedure. This first opinion of the SAM High-level Group will undoubtedly constitute a key reference for our work on post-2020 emission performance standards for cars and vans in the EU."

The scientific opinion, drafted in response to a request by Commissioner Arias Cañete, draws upon a comprehensive review of scientific literature, a wide-ranging consultations with the most relevant scientific experts and policy, industry and civil society stakeholders and a visit to the Vehicle Emissions Laboratory of the European Commission's Joint Research Centre.

The Group is currently also working on an opinion on cybersecurity, which is expected to be published in early 2017, and has published recently an explanatory note on glyphosate.


On the Scientific Advice Mechanism:

The Scientific Advice Mechanism (SAM) was set up by a Commission Decision on 16 October 2015. Its High Level Group of Scientific Advisors comprises seven independent eminent scientists, appointed in their personal capacity. The Group draws on a wide range of scientific expertise, inter alia through a close relationship with European and national academies, to advise the Members of the European Commission on issues of public interest.

The SAM contributes to the quality of EU legislation and complements the existing science advisory structures of the Commission, which include inter alia the Joint Research Centre (JRC), the European Agencies as well as specialised expert groups.

On the SAM High Level Group's first scientific opinion:

The European Commission has played a key role in global efforts to reduce CO2 emissions from road transport for many years now. Through its science and knowledge service, it was instrumental in the development of the World-wide harmonised Light vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP), a new, more realistic, test procedure for measuring CO2 emissions and fuel consumption from cars and vans. In the EU, WLTP will gradually replace the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) test procedure, which no longer reflects today's driving conditions or vehicle technologies, in vehicle approvals from 2017.

In its first opinion, the SAM High Level Group recommends reviewing the WLTP test cycle every five years to ensure that the gap between laboratory and average real-world emissions does not grow again. The High Level Group recommends complementing the WLTP test cycle with a framework for the monitoring of real driving CO2 emissions. This should consist of an assessment as to whether CO2 emissions data obtained from the real driving emissions testing for pollutants using Portable Emissions Measurement Systems (PEMS) can be used to monitor the gap, the development of a Real Driving Emissions scheme for CO2, and the introduction of a formal reporting of the fuel consumption of passenger cars, taking advantage of on-board vehicle diagnostic systems.

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