File picture: Charles Platiau / Reuters.

Strasbourg, France - The European Parliament agreed on Wednesday to push for a 40 percent cut of CO2 emissions from new cars by 2030 - a more ambitious target than that sought by the European Commission and car-making giant Germany.

The EU goals - which must now be finalised in negotiations with member states - are part of global efforts to reduce CO2 emissions and limit global warming, in line with the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change.

By 2021, existing EU rules stipulate that the new car mix offered by each manufacturer cannot exceed an average of 95 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre.

Under proposals put forward by the commission last year, that target would be lowered by 30 percent by 2030. 

Car makers have argued that the goal is too ambitious, while environmental groups have pushed for a greater reduction.

The parliament decided to push for the 40 percent reduction goal after some EU lawmakers had called for a cut of up to 70 percent.

The Transport and Environment advocacy group welcomed Wednesday's decision.

"Despite an unprecedented lobby effort by the oil and car industries, the European Parliament has voted decisively to require carmakers to make their cars cleaner and sell more electric and hydrogen vehicles," said the group's Julia Poliscanova, calling on EU governments to follow suit.

"We shouldn't allow Germany to hold an entire continent to ransom over its failed diesel strategy," she said.