MEPs’ call for ‘phased’ CO2 limits amounts to a postponement, IEEP study shows

September 16, 2008

The European Parliament’s industry committee has proposed a weakening of the EU draft legislation on cutting carbon dioxide emissions from cars, calling for a ‘phased’ approach. T&E says the proposal, if adopted, will make the new rules ‘almost completely meaningless’ and is calling on the EP’s environment committee to reject the idea.

In a vote earlier this month, the industry committee narrowly supported a collection of changes to the EU’s proposals. The draft legislation still proposes average CO2 emissions from new cars to be limited to 120 g/km by 2012, but – as currently drafted – envisage car makers being responsible for only 130 g/km by 2012.

The industry committee, which is very influential but is subsidiary to the environment committee on this issue, says it wants a phased introduction to delay the 130 g/km target to 2015. It also voted to lower the maximum fine payable for missed targets from €95/g/km to €40, and wants certain ‘eco-innovations’ such as tyre pressure monitors to count towards the 130 g/km target.

T&E issued a statement saying the industry committee ‘has fallen into line with virtually every single demand of the car industry lobby’. Kerstin Meyer said: ‘It is vital the committee’s proposals are rejected by their colleagues in the environment committee and EU environment ministers.’


T&E director Jos Dings said a phased-in approach would mean the cleanest cars are regulated first. ‘It’s the equivalent of demanding that a smoking ban should only apply to non-smokers,’ he said.

When the ‘phasing-in’ amendment was proposed, T&E asked the Institute of European Environment Policy (IEEP) to look at its implications. In a four-page assessment, IEEP says: ‘All suggestions of a phase-in of compliance with the CO2 target lead to significantly reduced levels of compliance relative to the overall 130g/km target.’

It also says many of the makers with the worst emissions would not have to do anything for another couple of years, and compliance levels would be even worse if the idea of lower fines for missed targets were adopted.

The industry committee stance also clashes with an opinion poll from five EU countries (D/E/F/GB/I) published last month which showed 87% support among citizens for urgent measures to force car makers to reduce fuel consumption by 25%. And T&E has shown that even the bigger cars can cut fuel consumption in its latest list of car consumption per manufacturer (see page 2).

The EP environment committee will discuss the legislation later this month, and EU environment ministers will discuss it next month.

• The International Automobile Federation (FIA) says the car industry ‘needs to reach the next level’ in cutting CO2 and other pollutant emissions. In a report on vehicle environment assessments which criticised even the best performing cars, the FIA said addressing CO2 and other pollutants simultaneously was ‘the standard all must aim for across their models’.

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