EU Resists Pressure to Water Down Car Emission Targets

Rules would require Europe to have cut carbon dioxide emissions to an average of 130 grams per kilometer traveled by 2012, from about 145-150 grams on average currently

An EU environment panel resisted pressure from Europe's powerful car-making industry to water down plans to force automakers to slash carbon dioxide emissions. A majority in the European Parliament's environment commission voted down efforts to weaken European Commission plans to fine car-makers for failing to meet emissions targets, a spokesman said.

The two biggest political groups in the parliament, the conservatives and the Socialists, had supported a watering down, but Liberals, Greens and some dissenting Socialists managed to outnumber them in the vote. "MEPs today stood up for tougher measures to combat global warming and sent a strong message to corporate lobbyists to back off," said British lawmaker Chris Davies.

Under European Commission proposals from last December, automakers selling new cars in Europe would have to cut carbon dioxide emissions to an average of 130 grams per kilometer travelled by 2012, from about 145-150 grams on average currently. Those that miss the target would face a fine that would increase from 20 euros (US$29) per vehicle sold over the limit in 2012 to 95 euros by 2015.

The package, which is still to be approved by the full parliament and EU member states, is strongly opposed by Germany, whose luxury carmakers produce the highest polluting cars in Europe.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2008

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