• EU governments scrap deal on CO2 limit for cars

    European environment ministers today effectively scrapped an agreement to limit emissions from new cars to 95g CO2/km by 2020. The European Parliament, the Commission and EU governments had, in June, previously struck a fairly negotiated deal confirming the target.

    Since the agreement was reached, Germany has been abusing EU democratic processes to undermine the deal so that its luxury carmakers (BMW and Daimler) will be allowed to keep selling even more gas guzzlers for another decade. Germany has repeatedly prevented a vote until it had “…reliable signs that there is enough support” for its proposal.

    Through a series of high-level deals, Germany has now secured sufficient support to block the agreement.  Portugal allegedly agreed to support Germany in July ahead of its national debt refinancing deal. The UK followed when support was swapped for German assistance opposing financial laws affecting bankers. Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Hungary, where German carmakers have large manufacturing plants, also backed scrapping the agreed deal. Poland and Estonia also supported Germany.

    Commenting on the decision, Greg Archer, clean vehicles manager of Transport & Environment, said: “These unprecedented, dirty deals will make cars less fuel-efficient and more polluting. It’s an unacceptable price, which will be paid by every European driver in higher fuel bills, by the planet that will warm quicker and potentially by Europe’s auto sector that will be less competitive. The deal struck in June was a reasonable political compromise.”

    Some carmakers, as well as auto suppliers and motorist, consumer and environmental organisations have all called for the agreed deal to be confirmed. Despite all the evidence showing that 95g/km by 2020 is technically feasible and that the technology required pays for itself within two to three years through reduced fuel bills, Mrs Merkel focused exclusively on the wishes of BMW and Daimler, which already receive much higher CO2 targets and make much higher profits than mainstream car manufacturers.

    Having effectively rejected the June deal, Council must now decide what changes it wants to the previously agreed deal. This will then be sent to the European Commission and Parliament, which will consider the amended proposal.

    “In the upcoming negotiations with EU governments, the European Parliament should safeguard the environmental ambition of this law and re-table its proposals for a limit of 68g CO2/km by 2025. The Parliament should also strengthen testing of cars to protect drivers from misleading fuel economy figures delivered by BMW and other carmakers,” Greg Archer concluded.