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E.U. Deal To Cut 2020 CO2 Emissions Crumbles

Environmentalists, Ford Unhappy With The Failure.

Germany incurred the wrath of environmental groups and the Ford Motor Co when it managed to delay probably until October, and perhaps kill, an E.U. agreement to cut average fleet CO2 emissions to 95 grammes per kilometer by 2020.

The deal seemed to have been agreed by E.U. leaders after talks between the European Parliament and the Commission. But last minute lobbying from Germany killed the deal. Germany worried that it didn’t give enough flexibility to its luxury manufacturers like BMW and Mercedes which wanted more credits for zero-emission and hybrid vehicles to offset gas-guzzling products.

Countries like France and Italy, which host manufacturers of mainly small cars, had been in favour of the deal.

The postponement means a delay until after the German elections on September 22.

Transport & Environment’s (T&E) Greg Archer wasn’t happy.

“It’s unprecedented in E.U. environmental policymaking that the pressure of one country delays a vote in an attempt to overturn a fairly-negotiated agreement between the European Parliament, the Commission and the Council itself,” Brussels-based Archer said.

Ford was unhappy too.

“As a company committed to meaningful CO2 emission reductions through advanced technology, Ford is disappointed. We will now have to regroup within the industry to determine the next steps,” Ford said in a statement.

The drive to stricter regulation of automotive CO2 is seen by some as a way to keep Europe ahead in the technology race.

According to Jean-Marc Gales, head of the European Automotive Suppliers Association known by its acronym in French, CLEPA, that what he called “smart” regulation would lead to safer, greener and more connected cars that would create technical leadership.

“It’s essential for survival,” Gales told the Automotive News Europe Congress.

Plastic Omnium CEO Laurent Burelle told the conference cutting CO2 emissions will have a positive effect on business.

“Regulation fosters investment,” Burelle said. The drive to better fuel consumption encourages the industry to develop lightweight panels and chassis components, he said.

Lance Armstrong
At the same conference, T&E’s Archer said European car manufacturers were exploiting regulations that sought to improve fuel consumption. Archer said that in the 10 years from 2001, manufacturers had exaggerated their ability to comply with official E.U fuel regulations from seven percent to 23 percent.

Archer claimed that BMW was the best at avoiding compliance with the E.U. rules. BMW had exaggerated its fuel claims by between 115 percent and 130 percent, he said. Archer described BMW as the “Lance Armstrong of manufacturers.”

BMW board member Ian Robertson said it complied fully with all government regulations in the countries in which it operates.

 Neil Winton – July 1, 2013

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