The European Parliament Environment Committee will this week debate the draft Davies report on further reducing CO2 emissions from cars.
The report, drawn up by the British Liberal Democrat MEP Chris Davies, suggests the car industry should have until 2015 to meet a target for 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 European Commission’s original target of 120g/km by 2012 should be changed to an average of 130g/km, with the remaining 10g met through other measures.
The European vehicle manufacturers’ trade association, Acea, supports the fact that the Davies report recognises the need for sufficient lead time for the European automotive industry. It has been arguing for some time for an extension of the deadline to 2015. However, ACEA also argues that the targets for CO2 emission reductions from cars mentioned are “far too stringent”.
ACEA also argues that the Davies report only focuses on vehicle technology, disregarding the need for a combination of efforts and measures to achieve better, cost-effective results for the environment, the industry and society as a whole. ACEA has consistently argued for an ‘integrated approach’ whereby biofuels, infrastructure improvements and eco-driving are taken into account when demanding CO2 reductions.
The Davies report also recommends 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. These are measures likely to be supported by environmental groups, but not by the industry.
“Davies’ suggestions to ban certain types of cars and limit the speed of cars come close to political symbolism; they do not address the real issues with regard to reducing CO2 emission from cars,” ACEA said in a statement.
Leading Brussels-based environmental lobby group, Transport&Environment (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.”
According to T&E, 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. 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.”
ACEA spokesperson, Sigrid de Vries, told just-auto that there is a common misperception that ACEA agreed to a voluntary target of 120g/km in its original 1998 agreement with the European Commission. The agreement targeted 140g/km by 2008, a target European vehicle manufacturers are considered highly unlikely to meet. Beyond 2008 ACEA committed to discussing how to proceed, but that discussion would also take into account taxation and labelling as well as economic developments.