GERMANY: No CO2 cash escape - EC

By just-auto.com editorial team | 13 August 2007

European Commissioner Guenter Verheugen opposes letting carmakers pay cash to escape strict emissions limits that Brussels is imposing on cars to help curb global warming.

"I think nothing of the idea that certain manufacturers could buy their way out of their environmental responsibilities," the EU industry commissioner told Germany's Bild am Sonntag weekly, according to Reuters.

"The Commission has also decided that its (legislative) proposal should not distort competition among the producers. This cannot be reconciled with payments of compensation."

Reuters noted that some European car makers, worried that strict curbs could hurt their competitiveness and cost thousands of jobs, have suggested the EU let builders of heavy cars pay compensation if they exceed their new CO2 output obligations.

The European Union's executive has said it would unveil legislation by mid-2008 to force carmakers to cut carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from new cars to an average of 130 grams per km across the fleet by 2012 through improved engine technology, Reuters added.

That would contribute towards an overall target of 120 g/km by 2012 compared to current levels of around 163 g/km.

Verheugen reportedly said the Commission had examined 46 models on how to implement CO2 curbs and had selected eight for in-depth review of their environmental, economic, social and technological impact.

Reuters noted that Brussels-based European automotive industry association ACEA has said the new rules should be postponed until 2015 to give the industry enough time to meet them.

It has also called for an integrated approach to curbing CO2 that would combine further improvement in vehicle technology with improved infrastructure, driver training, more use of biofuels and CO2-related taxation of cars and fuels, the report added.