Association, Inc.

Issue No. 3, 2007

A Japan-EU workshop on "Reducing CO2 emissions in the automobile sector"

On 18 September 2007, JAMA Europe, together with the EU-Japan Centre for Industrial Cooperation, hosted a workshop in Brussels on "Reducing CO2 emissions in the automobile sector, a comparison between Japan and the EU".

The event brought together representatives from the European Commission, European Parliament1, Japanese public authorities2, international organisations3, and NGOs4.  The workshop was chaired by Malcolm Harbour MEP (West Midlands, UK) and included almost 130 participants.

Dr Reinhard Schulte-Braucks5 confirmed that Günter Verheugen, Vice President of the European Commission in charge of Enterprise and Industry, considers the automotive industry "a jewel of European industry…with challenges ahead on issues such as fuel efficiency, safety, and polluting emissions".  In view of these challenges, the European Commission is working with the automotive industry in order to ensure that the latter has the legislative predictability it needs to strengthen its competitiveness.

Mr Ryo Maeda, Deputy Director of the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry's Automobile Division, outlined the theory and practise of Japanese CO2 emissions policy for cars.  Maeda underlined the need for "comprehensive efforts" in order to comply with the Kyoto Protocol in Europe. He spoke of the importance of implementing an integrated approach, as in Japan, which includes vehicle manufacturers, government, and vehicle users.

This strategy was introduced by the Japanese government in order to achieve significant reductions of CO2 emissions in the domestic road transport sector by 2010. The strategy is known as the "three-in-one-approach" as it comprises greater fuel efficiency for automobiles, better transportation flow measures, and eco-driving.

The diagram below illustrates road transport-sector trends in CO2 emissions reduction in Japan since 1990 and indicates that the 2010 CO2 emission target is achievable.

CO2 emission volumes & 2010 reduction target for Japan’s road transport sector

Source: Ministry of Environment of Japan

Mr Takao Onoda of the International Energy Agency (IEA) highlighted fuel efficiency as one of the key tools which must be used to draw closer to the Kyoto Protocol’s CO2 targets.  In line with this, the IEA has recently put forward 12 recommendations to the G8, two of which—mandatory fuel efficiency standards for light-duty vehicles and the implementation of measures for the deployment of fuel- efficient tyres—focus exclusively on the transport sector.

There was widespread consensus among the speakers that further reductions in CO2 emissions from the transport sector will only be achieved through an integrated approach.

Mr Kouichi Miyazawa, from the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, made a comprehensive summary of the successful measures implemented so far in Japan.  He emphasised that cooperation must come not only from the vehicle manufacturers, but also from government and vehicle users.  Companies should receive incentives to buy cleaner-energy vehicles, stricter speed limits should be imposed on heavy-duty trucks, and infrastructure should be modernised to improve traffic flow.

Mrs Caroline Ofoegbu, from the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), insisted on the need to adopt measures to encourage environmentally- friendly consumer demand.  She is in favour of adopting a targeted incentive policy based on a harmonisation of CO2 car taxation regimes at the EU level.

Finally, Mr Bram Claeys, from the Belgian NGO BBL, pointed to the benefits of eco-driving campaigns, an important part of the aforementioned integrated approach.  According to Claeys, it has been shown that eco-driving can result in a considerable reduction of automotive fuel consumption (5-30%) and help halve fatal road accidents.

The presentations that were made during the event are available here.

1 Mr Martin Callanan, MEP

2 Mr Ryo Maeda, Deputy Director, Automobile Division, Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, and Mr Kouichi Miyazawa, Director, Global Environment Policy Office, Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport

3 Mr Takao Onoda, Policy Analyst, International Energy Agency

4 Mrs Caroline Ofoegbu, Deputy Director General, Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile, and Mr Bram Claeys, Policy Officer, Bond Beter Leefmilieu

5 Dr Reinhard Schulte-Braucks, Head of Unit, DG Enterprise, European Commission