Differences within the European Commission over whether to impose binding targets for emissions of greenhouse gases on car manufacturers have emerged ahead of a crucial decision next week.

Reuters noted that environment commissioner Stavros Dimas has called for a binding cap on emissions of heat-trapping carbon dioxide by motor vehicles because the motor industry is failing to meet voluntary targets agreed with the European Union executive but a spokesman for industry commissioner Guenter Verheugen on Friday told Reuters the commission would not propose legislation to impose curbs this year on the gases blamed for global warming.

“Mr Verheugen said in an interview that legislation on cars and CO2 is an option, but that it would not be possible to bring in legislation this week for timing purposes, so you can’t expect legislation to be brought in this year,” spokesman Ton van Lierop told a briefing attended by the news agency.

The commission would outline a broad strategy involving proposals on tyres, car engines, traffic management and driver behaviour designed to meet the objective of curbing emissions to an average of 120 grams of CO2 per km by 2012, he reportedly said.

A Dimas spokeswoman told Reuters the question of legislation was still open for debate at next Wednesday’s Commission meeting.

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“(Dimas) has said that he will propose a legislative approach,” Barbara Helfferich told the news agency, which said the exchange reflected a fierce struggle over the EU’s priorities between the environmental and industry lobbies, with the green faction seen gaining ground due to growing political concern about climate change.