French EU presidency proposes delay for car emission reductions
France, currently chairing the six-month rotating EU presidency, has put a proposal to member states that backs a gradualist approach to limiting carbon dioxide emissions from cars.
Paris is proposing that instead of all cars sold in 2012 being restricted to emitting a maximum of 130 grammes of CO2 per kilometre - the measure proposed by the European Commission and last week largely endorsed by the European Parliament's environment committee - only 60 percent of all new cars would have to meet the standard, according to a document first seen by the Reuters news agency and appearing in the press on Tuesday (30 September).
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All new cars would have to meet the target by 2015. The proposal effectively give car manufacturers an additional three years to implement CO2 emissions reductions across the entirety of their fleets.
The commission proposed last year that vehicle emissions be cut to 130 grammes per kilometre by 2012, down from an current average of 158 grammes.
The parliament's environment committee on Thursday (25 September) supported the proposals as they stood, voting down changes to the legislation that would see such a gradual phase in of the CO2 targets.
The French proposal would also have car companies given credit for "eco-innovations" that produce cleaner vehicles or lower-emission cars. Green groups however complain that reductions from such technologies cannot be verified under EU test procedures
The EU presidency would also like to see exceptions for manufacturers that do not sell many vehicles and credit offered to those that begin to sell electric cars.
As a result of the delay, car emissions would actually rise by 2012 - to a total average of 161 grammes of CO2 per kilometre.
Environmentalists attacked France's suggestions.
"EU environment ministers initially called for a target of 120 grammes of CO2 per kilometre by 2012 as far back as 1994. With a delay in implementation and the inclusion of arbitrary CO2- measuring procedures, we are now talking of a staggering 161 grammes of CO2 per kilometre," said Greenpeace in a statement.
"That's even higher than what cars emit today."