On Dec. 1 EU nations reached a compromise agreement on new rules to cut CO2 emissions from new cars from 2012, with penalties for automakers who fail to comply.
The deal, part of wider EU efforts to tackle global warming, was reached during talks between representatives of the 27 EU nations, the European parliament and the European Commission, following months of detailed and sometimes heated negotiations.
Under the agreement, automakers will have to reduce CO2 emissions from new cars to 130 grams per kilometer over the period 2012-2015.
That part of the deal is a slower greening of the industry than was foreseen in the original plans which raised objections in several member states including Germany. To pacify the nations which had sought steeper cuts, a new objective of just 95 grams per kilometer was fixed for 2020. The current CO2 emissions figure for new cars is around 156 grams.
Penalties will be imposed on a sliding scale for higher emitting cars.
But Green groups swiftly criticized the deal, saying it had been watered-down too far to have any great effect. "The EU has just agreed an empty deal to reduce car emissions, giving in to industry pressure to delay and weaken proposed targets," Greenpeace said. "The car industry has been driving negotiations all along and EU politicians have been happy to sit in the passenger seat making comments about the scenery," said Franziska Achterberg, Greenpeace EU transport policy campaigner.
The environmental group spoke of "a host of loopholes and weak penalties for non-compliance mean that carmakers are unlikely to hit the 130g CO2/km target even after 2015."
The Green group in the European parliament was similarly unimpressed, calling the deal the "first casualty of climate package scale-back."
"The agreement reached in these trialogue negotiations will result in legislation that falls far short of what is necessary to deliver on the EU's climate goals and, in effect, rewards car makers for failing to deliver on targets they committed to 10 years ago," complained Green MEP Rebecca Harms, vice-chair of the parliament's climate committee.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2008