If the car-making industry does not re-design them to pollute less, voluntarily, it might have to be by law. The European Commission has warned EU and Asian manufacturers that pollution reduction targets remain valid. On paper, they are committed to bringing CO2 emissions down to 140 grammes per kilometre by 2009 and further later, but efforts have lagged lately. They are still hovering around 160g/km at best in Europe.
A Commission spokesman spells out the potential consequences:
“If carmakers do not live up to their commitment, if they do not do enough in order to achieve their CO2 emission reduction targets, then the European Commission would not hesitate to replace the carrot with the stick, and in this case the stick could be, for example, regulatory action.”
The slowdown in clean development is attributed to consumers wanting bigger cars – which pollute more.
So, the associations say, it is up to the policy-setters to make the cleanest options attractive, such as through tax incentives.
The head of the Commission drives a car said to produce more than 380g/kilometre but a spokesman said that had no bearing on the Commission’s policy.