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Renegades in parliament skunk auto-lobby over pollution caps

brussels bureau

Renegades in parliament skunk auto-lobby over pollution caps


EU carmakers have received a kick in the exhaust pipe from the European Parliament’s environment committee. Liberals, Greens and some Socialists rejected party recommendations to give the industry an easier ride than the European Commission suggests for CO2 emissions caps. Those are: 130 grammes per km from new cars in 2012, compared with a current EU average of 158g.

Green Mep Rebecca Harms: “High oil prices and global warming indicate that the time is now to go for a smaller, more efficient, climate-friendly cars. And those manufacturers who refuse to accept this will lose on the world market, because the future is with efficient, smaller cars.”

German conservatives led the drive to soften the Commission’s plans. They say the proposal threatens billions of euros of export earnings and thousands of jobs. Yet the lobby swore it is not taking the key out of the ignition just yet.

Socialist Guido Sacconi, author of the compromise position proposal rejected in the Environment Committee, said: “It looks like there’s no avoiding going to a plenary vote with this. I don’t see any alternative.”

Sacconi’s concessions included phasing in the limit, instead of slamming it to industry in 2012, and also nearly halving the fines for non-compliance – from 95 euros per gram/km over the limit.

One liberal said: “The corporate lobby thought they’d done a deal with parliament’s two main political groups, but the ordinary members have thrown that out.”

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