• Industry committee votes to weaken cars and CO2 targets

    The Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) of the European Parliament has fallen into line with virtually every demand of the car industry lobby in a vote on proposed fuel efficiency standards for new cars.­­

    [mailchimp_signup][/mailchimp_signup]The Commission’s proposal foresees CO2 emissions of the average new car sold in Europe in 2012 of 130g CO2/km.
    The industry committee voted, by a small majority for:

    • A ‘phase-in’ of the Commission’s target which equates to a postponement until 2015, according toanalysis carried out by the independent Institute of European Environmental Policy (IEEP) on behalf of T&E.
    • ‘Eco-innovations’.  The committee wants carmakers to get credit for measures that are supposed to reduce CO2 emissions from cars but that are not taken into account in today’s procedure for new car CO2 emissions testing. This test procedure takes improvements in propulsion technology, aerodynamics and weight reductions into account.  For example, the committee’s proposal could allow gear-shift indicators, that tell drivers when to change gear, to count towards official CO2 reductions.  But the real-world impact of such devices cannot be measured definitively.  T&E thinks that these so-called ‘eco-innovations’ should not be a replacement for officially certified CO2 reductions coming from improvements in car engines, shape and weight. They should come on top of official reductions and be measurable.
    • Low penalties for carmakers that don’t comply with the legislation.

    Kerstin Meyer of Transport & Environment (T&E) said:  “The industry committee wants loopholes so wide you could drive a gas-guzzling SUV through them.  If their proposals go unchecked by their colleagues in the environment committee, and EU environment ministers, the legislation will be almost completely meaningless.”

    Results of an opinion poll conducted in five EU countries and published last week showed overwhelming support among citizens for measures to force carmakers to reduce the fuel consumption of the cars they produce by 25 per cent without delay.

    The committee’s suggested weakening of the EU targets also follows publication of a T&E report last week that showed some carmakers are making great strides in improving fuel efficiency.  BMW AG, reduced emissions of CO2 by 7.3% last year. Reductions in CO2 emissions are directly linked to improved fuel efficiency.

    Meyer commented: “Even premium carmakers can make big cuts in CO2 with the threat of regulation looming.  If the threat of meaningful targets is removed, camakers will simply revert to their century-old strategy of making cars ever heavier, more powerful and more polluting.  It’s up to the environment committee, and environment ministers to maintain the pressure and keep high-tech fuel efficient innovation coming.”

    The Parli­ament’s Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI), the lead committee on the issue, will vote on September 9th.

    Environment ministers from the EU’s 27 member states will discuss the proposal in October.