Reduce CO2 from car exhausts

24 September 2008

Reduce CO2 from car exhausts

Tomorrow the Environment Committee of the European Parliament will vote on the legislative proposal fixing emission standards for private cars, including the number of grams of CO2 permissible in car exhausts. The measure is aimed at limiting the average carbon dioxide emissions from new vehicles. The EU's goal is to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases by 20% before 2020.

Friends of the Earth poster
Friends of the Earth poster

120 grams is fine, but when?

The SP is urging the adoption of a limit of 120 grams of CO2 per kilometre, but in 2012, not 2020. The SP's ambitions extend further than this, because the party wants a limit by 2020 of 95 grams to have been achieved. Kartika Liotard explains: “The technical know-how and skills to realize this are already available to car manufacturers, yet the auto industry still finds these ambitions too tough.”

Under the Influence

Marshalled by the auto industry, various Euro-MPs have come forward with proposals to raise the limit to 130 grams of CO2 per kilometre by 2015 and to reduce fines for those manufacturers breaching this limit. The SP's opinion is that the European Commission proposal that manufacturers in breach of the limit be fined €95 for every gram of excess CO2 per kilometre per car is satisfactory, but the car industry has ensured that amendments would be put reducing this to €50. “The influence of the auto lobby has severely weakened this proposal,” says Liotard. “I find that hard to accept.”

Behind Closed Doors

One interesting detail is that Rapporteur Guido Sacconi from the Socialist Group reached a compromise in a closed meeting with the Christian Democrat EPP group which weakened the proposal, although a stronger compromise, to which all political groups had agreed, was already on the table. Christian Democrats and Social Democrats (of the so-called 'Party of European Socialists' group) have the power in Brussels. So Thursday should see an interesting vote. In and around the European Parliament building are posters from Friends Of The Earth which compare the fuel consumption of a fifty year old Volkswagen with a brand new model. There's no difference....

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