Fit For 55: Green Groups Welcome Batteries Regulation Progress as Ports Raise Alarm on European Competitiveness: GMPB

Covered in this week’s Green Mobility Policy Brief: Kraków is to become the first city in Poland to ban older cars from its streets in a bid to cut pollution; EC & EP strike deal to make electric car batteries cleaner; The Clean Car Standard (CCS) will be phased in from December 1st in New Zealand; and Ports Association Raises Alarm on Fit for 55 Package.

Kraków is to become the first city in Poland to ban older cars from its streets in a bid to cut pollution. Kraków is currently one of the worst cities in Europe for air pollution levels and is ranked as one of the most polluted major cities in the world. In a bid to tackle this, the mayor has proposed a “clean transport zone” which will be introduced in mid-2024 and will cover the whole city. This legislation will ban petrol-powered cars over 31 years old and diesel cars more than 27 years old. Fines will be given to drivers breaking the rules, excluding motorists aged 70+, emergency services, and vintage cars. While this move has been criticised by locals who argue that the  measures will impinge on freedom, municipal officials estimate that these moves will cut Krakow’s nitrogen oxide emissions in half compared to 2019 levels, tackling air pollution, respiratory infections, and chronic lung disease. According to the European Environmental Agency, fine particle pollution resulted in over 283,000 premature deaths in 2020 – Charlotte Goldstone 

EC & EP strike deal to make electric car batteries cleaner. European co-legislators have agreed to introduce tougher due diligence requirements for battery producers in order to significantly improve the effects of EV (electric vehicle) batteries on both communities and the environment. Green group Transport and Environment (T&E) call for the same standards to be enforced for all raw materials, including fossil fuels, ahead of a new piece of European Legislation set for finalisation in the coming months. Coined as a ‘game changer’, the Batteries Regulation aims to tackle issues of sourcing, production, and recycling of batteries.Selling EV batteries in the European market will now require a complete carbon footprint report (implemented as early as July 2024), of which figures will be used to project a maximum CO2 limit for batteries, applicable from 2027. In terms of recycling, the new EU targets will extend the advantages of batteries over petrol and diesel, with a requirement of 90% nickel and cobalt recovery (rising to 95% in 2031), and 50% lithium recovery (rising to 80% in 2031). The new rules will also focus on the prevention of environmental, human rights and labour abuses in battery supply chains. Alex Keynes, clean vehicle manager at T&E, predicts that the upcoming legislation will ‘even the playing field between Europe’s battery industry and imports which are subject to minimal standards’, spurring the creation of new local jobs with an increased regard for workers’ rights, and attracting global investment in a guaranteed green battery market.  – Josie Waddington 

The Clean Car Standard will be phased in from December 1st in New Zealand. New Zealand’s Transport Minister, Michael Wood has announced the phasing in of the CCS to significantly reduce CO2 emissions from light vehicles. Currently, emissions from their light vehicle fleets are the largest source of transport emissions in New Zealand. Indeed, the Transport Minister cites the country as having some of the most fuel-inefficient and emission-intensive vehicles in the OCED, resulting in higher at-pump costs, and damaging effects on people’s health and the environment. To combat this, from January 2023 vehicles imported will incur a credit or charge based on CO2 emissions, encouraging imports of low-zero emission vehicles to attract credits and offset the chargers applied to higher-emissions vehicles. This legislation, which takes aim at the country’s car imports, will give the population more choices of low-emission transport whilst also “stopping New Zealand [from] being the dumping ground for the dirtiest vehicles in the world”, according to the country’s Transport Minister, Michael Wood. – Charlotte Goldstone 

Ports Association Raises Alarm on Fit for 55 Package. On the 30th November 2022, the FEPORT General Assembly Meeting expressed fears concerning the EU ‘Fit for 55’ proposal, specifically the consequential effects on the competitiveness for EU ports. This is due to the geographic scope of the  EU ETS and Fuel EU. Fit for 55 aims to update EU legislation to align EU policies with the objectives of the Paris Agreement. For instance, Fit for 55 aims to boost green fuel consumption in the aviation and maritime sectors. FuelEU Maritime will require most vessels above 5000 gross tonnes visiting European ports to reduce the greenhouse gas intensity of energy used onboard. From 2030, maritime transport operators will also need to connect to onshore power supplies for energy when moored at the quayside. EU ETS and Fuel EU aims to increase production, innovation, and investment into sustainable maritime transportation.  However, to avoid extra costs associated with the EU’s schemes, shipping companies may possibly avoid EU ports altogether. The upset felt by the FEPORT members reflects the challenges commercial industries face when battling economic and environmental obligations.. To combat the potential port avoidance, the EU Parliament and Council propose to monitor carbon leakage impacts and cargo diversions at the expense of EU Ports; a move welcomed by FEPORT members – Tia Fishlock