Blog: Dave LeggettDelay in Brussels

Dave Leggett | 24 January 2007

I gather there's been a fair old row going on over in Brussels over automotive CO2 emissions in Europe and how to tackle them. The industry commissioner and the environment commssioner are at odds, so a planned announcement on proposals has been delayed.

The industry argument is that European carmakers' competitiveness will be adversely impacted by anything that imposes excessive costs on them. We'll be shooting ourselves in the foot, they say. The environment guy reckons it will take something tough to get any real action from the car manufacturers, but the delay suggests he's not winning the argument.

I'm not necessarily saying that tough CO2 targets in Europe are not a good idea - they might be - but it would be good to see more progress on the global nature of the CO2/global warming issue. If we pay more for cars and their use, we need to have some idea of what the impact is, in terms of the scale of the problem. What difference are our actions making and what are others doing, or not? 

George Dubya may be sounding greener (and, to be fair, he made some good points, took some little steps in the right direction, yesterday - even if he is a lame duck president), but he doesn't much fancy the economic straight-jacket of Kyoto targets and in that he carries many Americans with him.

But you can't really blame the countries of the rapidly industrialising developing world for saying that the West is exercising double standards in wanting them to show restraint, can you? A fatty extolling the benefits of a low-cal diet programme for others while sticking away a few cream buns might attract some resentment.

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