• Europe must back long term car CO2 standards and strict penalties

    T&E welcomes the broadly positive response of Environment Ministers to legally binding new car CO2 targets proposed by the European Commission in December, but urges all member states to back longer term targets, robust penalties and footprint not weight-based standards.

    [mailchimp_signup][/mailchimp_signup]T&E welcomes the fact that the majority of the ministers that spoke at today’s meeting called for longer term targets and several spoke out in favour of footprint-based standards or raised concerns over weight as a parameter for setting CO2 standards.

    Speaking earlier today in a speech to the European Parliament’s Temporary Committee on Climate Change, Jos Dings, director of T&E said: “Everything about European climate policy aims for 2020, except the part on cars. The excuse is that we do not know what is feasible and what kind of car market that would lead to. Well, we do not know in detail what kind of technologies will be introduced in the power sector, or the cement sector or the aluminium sector. We do not know what kind of renewable energies will be deployed by 2020. That does not stop us setting targets. Only a binding target ensures that we get the innovation needed to get there. We should have one for cars too…80 g/km by 2020 and 60 g/km by 2025.”

    The Commission proposed in December a penalty system for car companies that don’t comply with the new standards involving a phase-in from EUR 20 to EUR 95 per g/km. T&E believes the correct level of penalties is EUR 150 per g/km.

    “The Commission’s proposed penalties are modest. In fact, almost all of them would be offset by fuel savings with a total cost to society of zero euros per tonne of CO2 abated. In other words, even if you do not believe in climate change, the penalties are economically justifiable” said Dings.

    T&E has heavily criticised the Commission’s proposal that new CO2 standards should be based on a car’s weight. T&E believes the new approach being used in the United States of basing efficiency standards on a car’s ‘footprint’, equivalent to the area between the four wheels, is a more cost-effective and sustainable approach than weight-based standards.

    Dings said: “If you are a carmaker and you make your cars lighter, this system will punish you with a tougher CO2 target…And there is no way we can get to sustainable cars if we do not make them a lot lighter.”