• EC recommends legislation on CO2 from cars

    A formal recommendation that Europe’s car makers should be required by law to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from new cars is expected from the European Commission next month.

    The environment commissioner Stavros Dimas told the independent EU publication European Voice earlier this month: “We will be bringing out legislation to cut CO2 emissions from cars soon.” Next month sees an EC review of EU measures to reduce CO2 emissions from cars, and it is expected to include the recommendation for binding legislation.

    Dimas was less clear on whether the legislation would set individual targets for car makers or repeat the feature of the current voluntary commitment that gives an average to the entire European car industry. Dimas told European Voice that the idea of individual targets was being discussed but “it appears there will be just one target for the whole industry.”

    The organisation representing Europe’s car makers, Acea, issued a press release opposing the idea of legislation. “The car industry recognises the decrease in CO2 emissions has recently slowed,” it said. “This is due to strong customer demand for larger and safer vehicles and disappointing consumer acceptance of extremely fuel-efficient cars, which have been brought into the market in line
    with the CO2 commitment.”

    This argument was rejected by the European Transport Safety Council, which says it is not safety that matters but size, comfort and the top speed of today’s cars. “Blaming safety is unfair, incorrect and just hides the fact that there are other issues responsible for industry’s failure to meet its contract with society,” said Professor Claes Tingvall, chair of the ETSC’s European New Car Assessment Programme.

    This news story is taken from the November 2006 edition of T&E Bulletin.