By on June 18, 2013

exhaust smoke - Picture courtesy autorules.blogspot.com

Senior members of the German government are leaning heavily on EU member states, warning “that German automakers could scale back or scrap production plans in their countries unless they support weakened carbon emissions rules,” Reuters writes. Cabinet members are said to focus their strong-arming on EU countries that recently have been bailed-out, mostly with German money. “They have tried everything at the highest level to pressure member states, in particular countries in the bailout club, to support their proposals,” a diplomat told Reuters.  The EU Parliament is set to finalize rules that set a 95g CO2 / km limit by 2020.

The fight however seems not so much a quest for cleaner air than an underhanded fight for more breathing room for the auto industries of some member states.

Germany’s warnings that stricter limits could cost jobs go mostly unheeded. They resonate only with “a handful of central European countries with domestic auto production, but France, Britain and Italy are opposed,“ EU sources tell Reuters.

At first glance, one would think that the latter countries should have even more interest in keeping assembly lines humming than relatively well-off Germany. The truth is one level deeper. The 95g  target hits first and foremost the makers of bigger bore nameplates, and those  are predominately in Germany: Daimler, BMW, Audi, Porsche. Much to the chagrin of other countries and automakers, the Germans are not as much affected by the European malaise than other countries, but they would get disproportionally socked by the 95g rule.  Makers of smaller displacement cars welcome anything to cut the haughty Germans down to size.  “Making less-polluting cars is costly and restricts profit margins, which is why major German manufacturers want to delay the stricter rules,” says Reuters. And that’s why other countries can’t wait.

Their goal is to bleed off profits and resources from competiors, and possibly to put companies like Daimler in serious trouble. Ad if it’s under the green guise of a cleaner planet, even better. Who can say nein to that?

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65 Comments on “War Of The Noses: Germany, Alone Against The Rest Of Europe In CO2 Debate...”


  • avatar
    NMGOM

    Maybe the Germans figured out that control of car-based CO2 addresses only about 4% of all CO2 produced on this planet.

    • 0 avatar
      icemilkcoffee

      Transportation is responsible for 13% of the greenhouse gas emissions.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        What is the other 87%

      • 0 avatar
        jimbob457

        For Germany, much of the remaining 87% is from burning lignite (described by one of my old pals as either a very low quality coal or a very high quality dirt) to generate electricity. Burning lignite is seriously dirty in almost every way possible.

        Plus, Germany doesn’t have a lot of low lying areas that might get flooded from a sea level rise caused by global warming. You can almost map local attitudes toward global warming by looking at how far above sea level a locale is.

        • 0 avatar
          wumpus

          From wiki “24.6% of Germany’s comes from lignite power plants.” And they are shutting down the nuclear plants.

          I thought US antiscientific attitudes were bad, this is worse.

          • 0 avatar
            jimbob457

            Oddly enough, science and engineering are to this day almost as clueless about nuclear safety as the average anti-nuclear activist. Remember the old engineering rule of thumb that it takes three full product cycles before the reliability of something is known. Given the 50 year life of a nuclear power plant, that will be awhile. Hopes that computer modeling might shorten the process were set back by the Tsunami.

            Imo, it seems obvious that a few nukes (such as San Onofre) are so poorly located they need to be shut down. A few others like SMUD and Browns Ferry were so poorly designed and built that they have been shut down.

            The Germans, evidently, are pretty risk averse. Remember, they did get some fallout from Chernobyl. They do have an alternative with lignite (unlike the French). Most of their country is well above sea level.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        It’s a trace gas with a claimed multiplier effect that hasn’t been proven. At least you’re calling it a greenhouse gas and not a pollutant, or as the U.S. EPA claims, a “poison”. The bottom line is that the science is far from settled and governments should not be creating, much less tightening any standards until the claims are proven.

      • 0 avatar
        NMGOM

        icemilkcoffee – - –

        “Transportation” also includes the trucking industry, rail usage, ocean shipping, and airliners. I was specifically referring to “cars” as being the 4%.

        So, here we are bending over backwards to reduce 1/25th of the total problem, and ignoring the higher contribution from more influential sources of CO2 that are actually easier to address….

        Must be politics at work promoting wealth equalization in this article: the EU’s thinking (if you want to call it that) certainly could not come from logic. Again, I think the Germans smell a rat.

        —————–

    • 0 avatar
      carlisimo

      We’re doing our part in the building industry – buildings are getting more energy efficient and we’re starting to use cement substitutes so we don’t need as much of it in our concrete (cement production is 8-9% of global CO2 emissions). Seems fair to ask the transportation guys to contribute too.

      That said, I don’t agree with making lower-volume car companies meet the same targets as the guys making subcompacts. I’m not sure what the answer is – we all know how CAFE backfired – but there must be a reasonable solution.

  • avatar
    Da Coyote

    And they’re also aware that there has been no significant warming for the last seventeen or so years (check the BBC, Economist…and real technical journals). For the latest “excuses” as to why the models don’t work, check the NYT…if anyone with a creditable science degree actually reads that thing.

    • 0 avatar
      Slawek

      You don’t need science degree. Just minimum intelligence to know not to read NYT.

    • 0 avatar
      icemilkcoffee

      Only if you cherry pick (notice ‘last 17 years’) an unusually warm year as the starting point. Otherwise the CO2 levels and the warming trend continues unabated.

      • 0 avatar
        wsn

        I have a MSc. in engineering. Published my own journal paper before. Not that matters, but just to say I can distinguish what is BS and what is not.

        According to what I read and trust, the CO2 level is at a near historic low. It’s lower than most of the plants have evolved to expect.

        • 0 avatar
          carlisimo

          That’s the most ridiculous anti-AGW argument I’ve ever heard. Some aren’t bad – there are some holes to poke at – but “CO2 level is at a near historic low” is hilarious. Wow.

          • 0 avatar
            wsn

            As expect, another environmentalist with lots of “ridiculous” and “hilarious”, but with no fact, no example and no logic.

            According to Harrison Schmitt’s (Wiki him, if you never heard of him) article http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323528404578452483656067190.html

            “The current levels of carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere, approaching 400 parts per million, are low by the standards of geological and plant evolutionary history. Levels were 3,000 ppm, or more, until the Paleogene period (beginning about 65 million years ago).”

            If you want to refute that, please publish your findings and reasoning, and we will go from there.

          • 0 avatar
            J.Emerson

            Mr. Schmitt is a retired astronaut and a politician, not a climate scientist. He’s spent a considerable amount of time bloviating his climate change denialism alongside such intellectual luminaries as Alex Jones and the Heartland Foundation, which shouldn’t surprise anyone who knows how these kinds of people tend to operate. Skeptical Science did a takedown of his WSJ article some time ago:
            http://mediamatters.org/research/2013/05/09/wall-street-journals-idiocracy-co2-is-what-plan/193986

            The most disturbing part of that statement you quoted is its level of intentional intellectual dishonesty. How much of the Earth’s surface do you think was covered with liquid water 65 million years ago compared to today?

          • 0 avatar
            jimbob457

            What is it about the global warming debate that brings out such massive dumbass in people? Imo, that applies to both sides, but more so from the anti faction.

          • 0 avatar
            carlisimo

            Fair enough wsn, I hadn’t thought to include prehistory in history… no one’s ever considered it relevant to the conversation. No one disputes that CO2 concentrations were high back then. I’ll simply argue that it’s irrelevant and specious.

            Crucially, plants are NOT adapted to the high CO2 levels and high temperatures back then. A lot of tree families were already around (mostly the conifers), but a lot of the species present are newer than that. Flowering non-tree plants didn’t take off until more recently than 65 million years ago (the lower CO2, cooler period)… and that includes all the food staples we (and our livestock) depend on. Agriculture would not handle climate change well.

            We’re in an interglacial period in this ice age, and that’s what we’re adapted to. Civilization has only existed during a period of ~280ppm CO2 and the corresponding temperature. We wouldn’t die out if it got colder or hotter, but we wouldn’t all make it, either. Okay, in the developed world we might, but life wouldn’t be as cushy and that’s worth fighting for.

          • 0 avatar
            wsn

            @ J.Emerson:

            Yep, “Mr. Schmitt is a retired astronaut and a politician, not a climate scientist.”

            Mr. Al Gore, THE most popular and powerful figure in anti-CO2, is a former lawyer and a politician. In comparison, I would trust the astronaut more.

          • 0 avatar
            wsn

            @ carlisimo:

            1) Re 65M years. Again, expected from someone with a short attention span. You are just like a new investor and be like “Oh, my stock went up 1% today! I have proved the market can only go up!” and “What market crash? Oh that one in pre-historic 2007.”

            2) Yet again, too short of an attention span to complete the article? It states clearly that the current crops were adapted to a higher concentration of CO2. Farmers actually blow CO2 to a much higher concentration in a greenhouse to boost crop production. In addition to that, less water is needed when the CO2 concentration is higher.

          • 0 avatar
            J.Emerson

            @wsn:
            The opinions of both Mr. Schmitt and Mr. Gore are completely irrelevant to the realities of global warming and the human contribution to it. He’s a great figurehead for trite left-bashing, but all the ad hominem attacks in the world won’t dispel the fundamental realities of climate change. It’s telling that you didn’t even attempt to address any of the points in the article I posted, but instead trotted out an Emmanual Goldstein figure to be your punching bad instead. If you really cared about the scientific issues at stake, you’d read it and understand that Schmitt’s stance on climate change is fundamentally delusional.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    Stick it to them Germany.

    If Germany holds strong it will send a powerful message to all businesses in Europe. Germany is the only thing keeping Europe afloat, the mass amounts of information has made the sheeple easily manipulable

    Europe can’t live on American tourism when the old country is in ruins, with angry tools shouting Americans as the problem to their ailments. Only takes one hitler to answer their cries.
    Btw anyone know the meaning of Iran in Arabic?

    • 0 avatar

      Persian not Arabic. What’s the problem? Aryan, the name of one of the tribes that founded centuries old Persia.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        I question your intentions if you find nothing wrong with the word, its origin, and its intentions.

        So, a country originally called Persia, becomes one of the greatest allies of the nazis during WW2 and changes its name during said time to the Aryan nation, does it all for no reason.

        • 0 avatar

          I’m pointing out that the use some deranged people in North-Central Europe decided to give an eons old word a twisted sense is of no consequence. Swatsikha (or however you write that) have been on display in Bhuddist temples forever. In some statues it appears on Bhudda’s forehead. Are Bhuddists not allowed to use this age old symbol on their temples because some people half the world away changed its meaning? I think not.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Iran was no ally of the Axis powers and I have never heard of the country changing it name in the period.

          World War II

          Reza Shah’s son Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, came to power during World War II, when British and Indian forces from Iraq and Soviet forces from the north occupied Iran in August 1941. Iran was a vital oil-supply source and link in the Allied supply line for lend-lease supplies. Reza Shah was forced to abdicate in favour of his pro-British son Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, who ruled until 1979.

          At the Tehran Conference of 1943, the Tehran Declaration guaranteed the post-war independence and boundaries of Iran. However, when the war actually ended, Soviet troops stationed in northwestern Iran not only refused to withdraw but backed revolts that established short-lived, pro-Soviet separatist national states in the northern regions of Azerbaijan and Iranian Kurdistan, the Azerbaijan People’s Government and the Republic of Kurdistan respectively, in late 1945. Soviet troops did not withdraw from Iran proper until May 1946 after receiving a promise of oil concessions. The Soviet republics in the north were soon overthrown and the oil concessions were revoked.

          • 0 avatar
            jimbob457

            Persia did in fact change its name from Persia back to Iran about 1972. I just happened to be there at the time.

            Starting in the late 1960′s (as I remember) the Shah started a big campaign to emphasize the country’s Persian (i.e. non-Islamic roots) by emphasizing the use of Persia. The country had always before gone by both names. The Shah’s campaign didn’t go over to well, so he changed the name back to Iran.

            Imo, it is unwise to try to learn history from reading books (or else read a variety of them), if there is any possible alternative. Most of these books were written by the winners. In the immortal words of Henry Ford: “History is more or less bunk”.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I believe Persians speak Farsi.

      http://en.wikipedia dot org/wiki/Persian_language

  • avatar
    mikey

    The tree huggers are in a never ending quest to twist the world,to thier version of a socialist utopia. The environmentalist’s are only a faction of the truly loony left. Be it anti pesticide,no fracing,no pipelines, no rich guys driving Yukons,or Germans building cars for rich people,its all bad in thier world. The Loony left leaves millions of lost jobs in thier wake. They don’t care.
    Whats left of the private sector unions,have been backing the left for years. With thousands, and thousands,of blue collar jobs destroyed, you might see that thinking change. Put the tree huggers and the lumber unions in the same room. You might see some difference of opinion eh?
    Give the Greenies everything they want. Then we can shut down the steel mills,and the factorys,and oil pipe lines. Lets dump the nuclear power plants. Who needs electricity? We can live like the Amish. I guess were going to have to develop cows that don’t fart.

    Maybe the unions will figure out that backing the “Socialist Greenies” may have some ramifications.

    Make no mistake here. Thier goal, always has been, and always will be the “redistrubution of wealth” and that wealth will not end up in the pockets of the working people.

    End of Rant…Got to wash my car.

    • 0 avatar
      Summicron

      I’d back a lot of tree-hugger initiatives if they’d just divest themselves of the social justice issues. But no, they’re going to continue to pretend that unqualified support and proliferation of society’s offal is compatible with environmental protection.

      Too much of politics is like an options package; want this, gotta take that.

      And now I have a day off and a dirty car, too.

    • 0 avatar
      icemilkcoffee

      Pretty much every single thing you typed is wrong. But I get the feeling you prefer it that way.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        I didn’t see much in the way of debatable facts, what he wrote is spot on.
        And much of it is either common sense or stuff that you can find the greenies saying on tape.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    This is the thanks Germany gets for carrying these nitwits. They should have pulled out of the EU years ago, and it will be best for the world if they bring it down now.

    • 0 avatar

      Nope, sorry. It really doesn’t work that way. The main beneficiary of the EU has been Germany, not the other way around.

      • 0 avatar
        Nutella

        Come on, Germany was forced to adopt the Euro at an insanely high exchange rate by the French to make sure Germany was neutered as long as possible (to pay for their reunification that was feared and opposed by the French).
        Germany is doing well because they are mostly exporting to growing countries outside the EU. The French have mostly given up the fight a long time ago. As a (non German) European, I will support Germany as long as I can because it’s really the only hope in Europe !

        • 0 avatar

          I’m not saying Germany isn’t more efficient than the others. What I’m saying is that the adoption of the Euro took away from the smaller economies the capacity to protect themselves against the German juggernaut by currency manipulations. In Italy, the adoption of the Euro increased the costs of living by a great factor as everything was now priced on Euros while salaries still had the lire “memory”. That’s just one example. Great Britain, the Scandinavians didn’t let go of their currencies so much. Wonder why…

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            So you put Germany at fault for having a great economy?
            Wow I see what your intentions are.
            Every single country in Europe could do what Germany did in little time if they would get rid of the social justice bull, and stop interfering in the economy with insane taxes and corruption as this article details

          • 0 avatar
            Sigivald

            … and plainly this proves Germany was/is mean, not that the EU was a bad idea for *everyone* involved?

          • 0 avatar

            Hummer, give me a break. I have no bone in this. I’m pointing out that some have won more and some have lost more with the EU. If by design or by unintended consequence I don’t know. If the EU is bad or good, I don’t know. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle.

            As to all the ‘social justice crap’ that’s just your opinion. For many, it’s a great accomplishment that people don’t want to give up. Every country has their own history and perspective. They come at problems from their own unique angle. That doesn’t make one country’s take better or worse than any other’s.

          • 0 avatar
            J.Emerson

            Hummer, if you think Germany doesn’t have a generous social welfare state, and doesn’t have a high degree of economic regulation (much higher than anything in the United States), it’s plain that you don’t know very much about the country.

            The chief difference between Germany and France, Italy, Spain, et al. is that Germany has been much more effective at manipulating the European Common Market and the euro to drain liquidity out of the member states while at the same time pushing out their marginal industries. It’s no secret that the non-euro nations in Europe (besides Germany) have fared the best during the European economic crisis, in large part because they have greater flexibility with their currency and with economic policy. If you believe everything the free-trade shills tell you about “comparative advantage” and the horrible consequences of a high-wage economy, there’s no reason that some place like Sweden should be doing so well, but it does. It’s because they haven’t given up their economic sovereignty for the sake of a misguided unification policy.

          • 0 avatar
            jimbob457

            Hang in there Marcelo! You must have very good teacher/mentors because almost every thing you say is spot on.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Excellent points J.Emerson. I’m no expert on Europe, but I don’t fall in with the Eurocrats or the other globalist shills either.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        Must be why all the European nations aside from Germany are doing so wonderful.
        /sarcasm

        The EU is a money drain on Germany, they gain nothing and lose tons, had Germany truly been independent, they would be doing even better.

    • 0 avatar
      J.Emerson

      They won’t pull out of it, because they created it to spread their own particular brand of economic parasitism/imperialism. They were the driving force behind EMU, ECM, and all the other financial shenanigans that have helped them bleed the rest of the continent dry over the last 20 years. Now that it’s finally catching up to them, they’re being forced to shove some of their ill-gotten gains back into the economies they crippled. They don’t really have a choice because they know it’s all just a house of cards, one that they created.

      • 0 avatar
        jimbob457

        Couple of points:

        1. there is a simple economic trade off between having a common currency like the Euro and having separate currencies – with the Euro you can loan money freely across the whole zone (OK, so everybody forgot about sovereign risk the first time round), but you give up the ability to devalue your national currency in times when nobody wants what you have to sell.

        2. the political motivation was forged in the devastating aftermath of WWII. The idea in northwestern Europe was that this must never happen again. The EU came first, and the Euro was a logical next step. My sources say that German politicians are still pretty passionate about this matter.

  • avatar
    challenger2012

    I would ask, how reasonable is it to reach this goal? Is this a pie in the sky wet dream, or is it a reasonable target? Is the rest of the world headed in this direction and using the 95 as a target as well? In the US, big V-8’s are going the way of the dinosaurs. Engines that are being used more frequently are 3’s, 4’s and 6’s. Also, if the shoe was on the other foot, and BG, France, Italy made larger displacement engines and Germany the smaller, would Germany’s stance be the same? Politics and money, same story different day.

    • 0 avatar

      “Also, if the shoe was on the other foot, and BG, France, Italy made larger displacement engines and Germany the smaller, would Germany’s stance be the same? Politics and money, same story different day.”

      Great point. Also, 95g is already done by some small cars with small engines. Notice the word small. A 6.3 AMG? Think it’ll never be possible.

      BTW, not saying it’s wrong or right. I personally think the limit is too low. But it’s a big dog fight and puny consumers have almost no voice in the matter.

    • 0 avatar
      mikey

      I wanted my to Dad co-sign on a car loan for me once. . I didn’t get the 69 Pontiac convertible, that was way out of my budget, I really,really wanted it, though. I also didn’t get the 650 Triumph.. “I wanted”.. He made it real clear. I quote “If I have to make one payment on your car,it will become my car,and I will sell it”

      My Dads thoughts were, he who pays for the car gets to pick the car,and he call the shots.

      I told him “I didn’t want the car “he wanted” his answer ” good luck getting a loan without a co-sign.
      I guess thats just the way of the world.

  • avatar
    Sigivald

    The fight however seems not so much a quest for cleaner air than an underhanded fight for more breathing room for the auto industries of some member states.

    Obviously, since CO2 is not “dirty”. There’s no issue of “clean” air.

    CO2 as a “pollutant” is purest bullshit.

    And here’s to the European Union collapsing.

  • avatar
    J.Emerson

    What a great example of the perils of outsourcing your domestic industry (and by extension, your sovereignty) to the whims of foreign-headquartered multinationals.

    “Their goal is to bleed off profits and resources from competiors, and possibly to put companies like Daimler in serious trouble.”

    Hilarious, because that’s been the goal of the Germans for years. You could replace Daimler with Chrysler in that sentence, and it would actually have a kernel of truth in it. One public policy initiative that may or may not threaten German economic hegemony, and we never hear the end of it. As if the people of the EU have absolutely no right, through their duly elected representatives, to even debate initiatives that could stick in the craw of German corporate boards.

    • 0 avatar
      challenger2012

      You are correct about MB. Look how they destroyed Chrysler. Now, a small company (Fiat) with 1/100 of the name recognition of MB has done a great job of resurrecting Chrysler. Why is it that MB couldn’t do what Fiat is? The answer is obvious, Fiat actually wants to make quality cars at Chrysler.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I agree with your point, Daimler never had any interest in making quality cars, just access to the US distribution network and maybe some IP. I would speculate Fiat approached the folks at Chrysler as partners and probably gave them a free (or less constrained) hand to run North American ops and it paid off. The Germans approached Chrysler as conquerors and effectively subjugated them. The eventual goal of Daimler was probably to wind down the brands into two, Jeep and either Dodge or a new “Dodge like” brand encompassing trucks, SUVs, and cheaper cars built with some MB DNA. I’m surprised Daimler didn’t come in with hacksaws and liquidate what they didn’t want shortly after the merger (or at least after the current gens ran their course).

  • avatar
    E46M3_333

    The only cars that can meet this are plug-in hybrids and $hit boxes with ~1 liter engines. This is a fine limit if you only ever transport yourself and no belongings. Which I suppose is OK, because when the watermelon regulators are finished, no one in the EU will have any belongings to transport anyway.

    What’s next, a tax on breathing? How about a tax credit for your next of kin if you off yourself?

    Idiots.

    • 0 avatar
      99GT4.6

      Haha. The people who make these dumb laws do not realize that a small 1.0 $hitbox or a rangeless EV do not work for everyone. If someone regularly takes long trips they need range and if they have a few kids, they need more than a small car. I believe it’s only about wealth redistribution. Humans emit CO2. Are they going to tax us on it? If someone can afford a large V8 car and its operating costs than let them have it. The gov’t gets more gas tax from them.

      • 0 avatar
        NMGOM

        Yes. If I chose to have a Bugatti Veyron that gets 8 mpg, but only drive it 50 miles twice a month, why should I get taxed as a gas guzzler, when my tree-hugging neighbor drives his 35 mpg Honda Civic 50,000 miles every year and doesn’t pay that tax, —- especially since he could have taken the train. Who, indeed, “guzzled” the most gas?

        Has this world inverted its thinking? My calculations show that the pretentious eco-Nazi consumed about 10 times as much gas.

        —————

        • 0 avatar
          wsn

          Not unlike that of Al Gore’s 10,000 sf “eco-friendly” house.

          • 0 avatar
            Lorenzo

            But Al Gore bought indulgences, er, carbon credits to offset his carbon footprint. He owns the company he bought the carbon credits from, so the house has no effect on the environment.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            “But Al Gore bought indulgences, er, carbon credits”

            …as the centuries go by, the more things change, the more they stay the same.


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