By Kate Abnett
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union will propose on Tuesday tougher CO2 limits for heavy goods vehicles, requiring new trucks to cut emissions by 90% by 2040 to help mitigate climate change, officials said.
The aim is to bring the transport sector in line with the EU's goal to have zero net greenhouse gas emissions across its economy by 2050. It comes after the 27-nation bloc last year agreed a 2035 deadline for new cars to be CO2-free.
The European Commission will on Tuesday propose a 90% emissions cut for new trucks sold in the EU from 2040, two EU officials told Reuters.
A draft of the proposal, seen by Reuters, did not specify the final target but said the EU aimed to drive industry-wide investments in zero-emission vehicles and boost innovation.
"Initiatives at the national and local levels will not be sufficient. A lack of coordinated EU action would translate into a risk of market fragmentation," it said.
A 90% target would fall short of the zero emissions goal that the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark and Luxembourg called for last month. Some other EU countries have argued a 2040 zero emissions target is too early for manufacturers to meet, diplomats said.
Campaigners said new CO2-emitting trucks registered in 2040 would still be on the road in 2050 - thwarting the bloc's aim to reach net zero emissions by that date.
"Polluting trucks will continue to be sold for years longer than necessary, making the EU's net zero goal impossible," said Fedor Unterlohner, freight manager at campaign group Transport & Environment.
Trucks in the EU were, on average, 14 years old in 2020, according to data published last year by the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association.
The European Parliament and EU countries must negotiate and approve the rules before they come into force.
Swedish truck maker AB Volvo started series production of heavy electric trucks last year, and is aiming for half of its global truck deliveries to be electric by 2030.
Other routes to decarbonise trucks include switching from combustion engines to hydrogen fuel cells, although these are not expected to be available in large numbers until the second half of this decade.
(Reporting by Kate Abnett; Editing by Sharon Singleton)