• MEPs warned not to fall into car trap

    A draft European Parliament report on reducing carbon dioxide emissions from new cars has rung alarm bells in the environmental community, with T&E calling on MEPs not to fall for car industry lobbying.


    The report, drawn up by the British Liberal Democrat MEP Chris Davies, suggests the car industry should have until 2015 to meet a target to have the average new car emitting no more than 120 grams of CO2 per kilometre. The Davies report is a response to the Commission’s proposal in February that the existing target of 120 g/km for 2012 should be weakened to a fleet average of 130 g/km, with the remaining 10g met through other measures.

    T&E has reacted angrily to the Davies report’s suggestion that meeting 130 g/km by 2012 is “too costly”. T&E director Jos Dings said: “The 120 g/km target was agreed in 1995, and the car makers originally had 10 years. 17 years is more than enough, as certain makers have shown. The arguments that the current target is not feasible or too costly simply do not stand up to analysis.”

    A recent UK study by the website www.cleangreencars. co.uk found that if all cars performed as well as the best in their class, car makers would already be on track to meet the target. And when other factors are included, such as smaller engines, stop-start systems and other technologies already available, the target would easily be within reach.

    T&E is worried that Davies has been persuaded by recent lobbying by the automotive industry. In a statement of “general framework and basic principles” published this month, the directors of Acea, the industry’s Brussels lobby group, said: “The target of 130 g/km by 2012 through vehicle technology only, as proposed by the European Commission, is not feasible. Furthermore, the vehicle industry needs appropriate lead-time ahead of a legislative framework because of long development and manufacturing cycles.”

    Dings added: “MEPs should not fall into the same trap as the Commission and be conned by the hysterical lobbying of Acea. We urge the environment committee to stick to the EU’s long-standing 120g target and ensure it is reached by 2012 at the latest.”

    The EP’s draft report, includes some elements likely to be welcomed by environmental groups, notably calls for changes in the ways cars are advertised, obligatory speed limiters and a ban on cars that emit 100% or more than the 120 g/km target.

    This news story is taken from the June 2007 edition of T&E Bulletin.