Tighter European rules on CO2 emissions from cars are being followed by a proposal to do the same for vans and utility vehicles. The powerful industry pushed hard for a delay. If the proposal is approved, auto-makers would be fined for every gram over the limit, for each vehicle sold.
Between 2014 and 2016, average carbon emissions would have to be cut to 175 grammes for every kilometre driven. By 2020, van makers would have to hit a target of 135 grammes. Today’s EU average is 203 grammes. Last year the EU adopted lower norms for passenger cars. The industry warns that the current economic conditions to meet are harsh, and that complying with the new criteria will raise the end price of a vehicle by as much as ten percent. The EU’s environment commissioner Stavros Dimas says the industry won’t just be able to re-categorise its products: “This is one of the purposes that this regulation serves : to cover the regulatory gap that we had after we had the car legislation and the possibility that some car manufacturers will type-approve passenger cars as vans.” Meanwhile, current EU president Sweden, on the eve of the leaders’ summit, got a rebuke from Greenpeace: Coal was dumped outside Stockholm government headquarters, in protest at Sweden’s role producing C02 from coal fired power stations abroad. In Brussels and other capitals, with UN negotiations 40 days away, Oxfam organised demonstrations to raise pressure on the EU’s leaders to pledge robust financing to deal with the effects of climate change.