By on December 20, 2007

1123159405_15701_15508.jpgEurope is all set to bask in its my-farts-don’t-smell green virtuosity– if only Germany would go along for the ride. Easier said than done; the new standard dictates that no car sold in the Eurozone can emit more than 130gm/km by 2012. Mercedes, Porsche and BMW don’t build a single gas-powered vehicle that conforms to the new regs. In fact, BMW’s lowest petrol-powered CO2 emitter, the 116i, spits out 139gm/km. If the new regs are enacted, the propeller people will have to pay €180 fine for every 116i they sell in the European Union (EU). The situation is not much better at the Volkswagen Group, which shelters high CO2 producer Audi and more than a few gas hogs of its own (e.g. Touareg SUV). Which is why BBC News reports that German Chancellor Angela Merkel called the CO2 limits “not economically favorable.” For its part, BMW calls the legislation “naive.” Peugeot– which makes a small car or two– joined the German chorus of complaint, suggesting the legislation would give advantage to foreign carmakers residing in countries with less powerful Green movements. Let the lobbying and loopholes begin! [thanks to Cammy Corrigan for the calculations]

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31 Comments on “German and French Automakers Balk at EU CO2 Regs...”


  • avatar
    Cammy Corrigan

    The thing I don’t understand is the emphasis on reducing CO2. CO2 can be neutralised (biologically) by planting more trees. There is a natural solution to this gas.

    What Europe should be concnetrating on is reducing NOx, CO, and HC fumes. These are HIGHLY poisionous and are more of an immediate threat.

    However, I’m not holding my breath (pun intended) because if Europe were to go after these gases, German would go nuclear, because that would all but kill diesel powertrains.

    But at least Europe are doing something to help the environment. What are the United States doing….?

  • avatar
    dean

    Well, the US congress just passed a new energy bill with a thousand pages of caring! Or is obscurantism the better word?

  • avatar
    lewissalem

    180 Euro? That’s it? Ummmm, why not just wrap that up into the cost of the car? The EU appears to be eating it’s own.

  • avatar
    Cammy Corrigan

    Lewissalem,

    €180 is on the lowest emitting petrol car that BMW do. When you get up to the 7 series, the lowest emitting diesel emits 210gm/km which means that BMW will get fined (under these proposed laws) €1600 per car.

    Now if you start packaging the fine into the car, this will make BMW’s cars more expensive than the competition.

  • avatar
    Martin Schwoerer

    This is just a draft regulation which was introduced by the Ecology Commissioner yesterday. Other Commissioners have distanced themselves from the draft — Verheugen (industry) for instance refused to participate in the press conference.

    It has to pass the European Parliament. Germany will try to create a blocking minority coalition with several small European countries.

    Right now, all this is just political posing/posturing. French President Sarkozy wants strict CO2 rules which will help French car makers, and has put high pressure on the President of the European Commission, Barroso. In effect, Sarkozy told Borroso he won’t be re-elected if he doesn’t try to enact strict CO2 rules. German PM Merkel on the other hand is trying to be a counterforce. It’s (ugly) works in progress at this point.

    At least, there is no perspective for massive ethanol subsidies.

  • avatar
    bluecon

    The US just passed the energy bill and California is bent on passing its’ own emmission rules and GM just introduced a Vette that gets great mileage and will outperform anything made in Europe at close to the price.

    Cammy, the new cars pollute at a fraction of the rate of pre-cat vehicles. The average lawn mower not to mention a charcoal barbecue are far worse polluters.

    I believe the emphasis on CO2 is the result of the Cat. The Cat convertor turns CO into CO2 and pollution control became so strong the watermelons(green on the outside and red on the inside) crowd needed a new public enemy number one and it is CO2. Greenhouses pump in CO2 and raise the level to make plants grow.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    Cammy,

    I may be incorrect here, but I believe that all the cars being discussed here fail to meet US pollution requirements in place for a couple decades.

    The US is considering all sorts of stupid ideas, but most are being rejected for the reasons you give yourself. CO2 is not the real danger. The American democracy has not yet been fooled into believing that Global Warming is a man made phenomenon. We may be dumb over here, but we are not stupid. The fact that our system keeps the elite from running amok until they can fool enough of us dullards is a wonderful benefit.

  • avatar
    Cammy Corrigan

    Bluecon,

    BBQ’s and lawn mowers may pollute more, but how many cars are sold in the EU in comparision to lawn mowers and BBQ’s?

    Landcrusher,

    I believe global warming IS a man made problem. The world is currently at its most populated and growing, using the most technology we’ve ever had and burning more fuels than we’ve ever done. We can’t look back on history and gauge a forecast because this is a new chapter in the world’s history. All the rules have been broken. We should be doing more to curb emissions and draining our resources. I’m just sad people are using “global warming” to start doing this. We should have done this from the start. That’s what I think, anyway……! :O)

  • avatar
    bluecon

    Well I worked in Germany one summer and everybody had a charcoal barbecue. They wouldn’t use a gas barbecue. And the politicians all drove around in big V8 powered cars. Plus no speed limit on the Autobahn burns up much gas and the pollution control standards for the vehicles are not as stringent in the USA. Don’t get me wrong, I love charcoal barbecues and no speed limit.

    I have lots of trees here in Canada. You want to buy some GW credits? We have the Algore special this month, just in time for Christmas.

  • avatar
    solbeam

    Well…….

    Everyone from the US or Canada should just keep their mouth shut when it comes to pollution and take some time to educate themselves. Watch the news and stuff like that.
    Just sayn.. you could come over stupid or ignorant…

    http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/env_co2_emi_percap-environment-co2-emissions-per-capita
    http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/env_co2_emi-environment-co2-emissions

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_carbon_dioxide_emissions

  • avatar
    bluecon

    I don’t know solbeam.
    In Canada we have 33 million people.
    In much of Canada the tree cover goes on and on and on for thousands of miles. All these trees are absorbing Europes CO2 since Europe has removed most all of its’ tree cover and all of its’ rain forest. I believe you should send me some money.

  • avatar
    Virtual Insanity

    Cammy: What has the USA done?

    We invented the missionary position. Your welcome!

  • avatar
    solbeam

    (bluecon)
    Yeah maybe Canada should get some money for leaving big parts of its forests intact.
    But I suggest the US should send most of this money.

    “In Canada we have 33 million people.”
    In Italy are living 60 million people and they are producing less CO2.

  • avatar
    virages

    Just as a note: the BMW 118d and 120d get 119 and 128 gCO2/km respectively. There is a lots of headroom for making lower CO2 emitting cars but that will mean less power and more high tech engines.

    As a note I think that the Passat bluemotion diesel and the Renault Laguna 1.4 dCi are around that magic 130 g/km. Both of those are 4 door family cars

  • avatar
    solbeam

    I read somewhere that every carmaker only has to cut a certain percentage of their CO2 emissions. The higher their total Fleet output of CO2 the higher the percentage they have to reach.
    It was something like:
    Porsche: 45%
    BMW, Mercedes: 25%
    Renault, Fiat: 15%

    For Porsche this could get nasty.

    It’s getting a little off topic but this seemed pretty interesting:
    Forest area % of land area
    http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/env_for_are_of_lan_are-environment-forest-area-of-land
    #9 Finland: 73.87 % of land area
    #14 Japan: 68.22 % of land area
    #16 Sweden: 67.09 % of land area
    #20 Korea, South: 63.46 % of land area
    #29 Brazil: 56.47 % of land area
    #40 Russia: 49.37 % of land area
    #74 Spain: 35.89 % of land area
    #78 Canada: 34.1 % of land area
    #84 United States: 33.08 % of land area
    #87 Germany: 31.76 % of land area
    #115 India: 22.77 % of land area
    #122 China: 21.15 % of land area
    “China: 21.15%” must have something to do with the Gobi Desert?

    If it comes down to the total area of forest, we will have to send our money to Russia.
    ;)

  • avatar
    Wheatridger

    Actually, trees are dying in unprecedented numbers all over the American West. Drive into Santa Fe, NM. and you’ll see mountainsides blanketed in gray, the color of dead pinyon pines. Northward in Colorado, the color is rust read, as pine beetles are munching through thick stands of mature evergreens. The only force that can slow or stop this historic change would be a succession of wet years, or very cold winters. Global warming makes either of those events more unlikely.

    Tree loss on a massive scale amounts to desertification. After all, the Cedars of Lebanon once were real. Now they’re just legendary. Just spend a day among these dying forests and then tell me there’s no problem, or a simple answer. If your answer is
    “just grow more trees,” it may be too late.

  • avatar
    Phil Ressler

    Everyone from the US or Canada should just keep their mouth shut when it comes to pollution and take some time to educate themselves. Watch the news and stuff like that.

    Those links might be meaningful or germane *if* CO2 were pollution. It’s not.

    But at least Europe are doing something to help the environment. What are the United States doing….?

    The US got a long head start on Europe in environmental clean-up, with both our Clean Air and Clean Water initiatives. For real pollution, we had widespread adoption of catalytic converters while Europeans lagged and their cities still made my lungs hurt, and our clean water initiatives have had a dramatic improvement in previously dead or dying lakes and rivers. Is there more to do? Yup. However, the US is still reforesting compared to the clear-cut continent of roughly 1900. Our energy efficiency in terms of inputs needed to drive a unit of economic growth has more than doubled since 1973. If anything, the anthropogenic climate change fear-mongering threatens to set back some of these gains by inducing wrong-headed policy like subsidizing corn-derived ethanol (environmentally stupid). The economic and political reasons for reducing dependency on the oil drip happen to abet or do no harm to the GW agenda, but are absent the panic. The US has a clear and sustained track record as an environmental leader among industrialized nations and was the first among them to aggressively roll back environmental damage from real pollutants.

    Phil

  • avatar
    Phil Ressler

    If your answer is “just grow more trees,” it may be too late.

    Reforestation can’t hurt, for a lot of reasons, but the LA Times documents that the effect is even more paltry than trying to attack the issue via the car fleet. According to their sources, of the 14,000,000,000 metric tons reduction of CO2 emission that the IPCC is seeking annually by mid-century, a mere 135,000,000 or less than 1% will be saved by planting 10 more trees for every person on the planet. Meanwhile, some scientists are forecasting the start of a long global cooling era by 2030….

    Phil

  • avatar

    Cammy Corrigan: The thing I don’t understand is the emphasis on reducing CO2. CO2 can be neutralised (biologically) by planting more trees. There is a natural solution to this gas.

    What Europe should be concnetrating on is reducing NOx, CO, and HC fumes. These are HIGHLY poisionous and are more of an immediate threat.

    Cammy,

    The following is from John Holdren, last year’s head of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, who was already teaching his students about global heating in 1974, when I took his class, “quantitative aspects of global environmental problems” and a Harvard colleague:

    The global-average surface temperature of the planet is already about 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit above its pre-industrial value, and because of time lags in the climate system it would coast up another 0.8 degrees F even if the concentrations of the climate-altering substances in the atmosphere could miraculously be frozen at their current levels. Another decade or so of “business as usual” emissions would likely commit the planet to a temperature level that assessments by the most respectable scientific groups have concluded will bring immense suffering from such climate-related phenomena as floods, droughts, wildfires, severe tropical storms, rising sea level, and changing distribution of pests and pathogens. (http://tinyurl.com/2oqnmc)

    Trees–forests, actually–are being leveled far faster than trees could be planted to replace them. Ironically, some of this forest leveling is to make way for palm plantations for biodiesel, by removing peat forests in SE Asia, which hold far, far, far more CO2 than palm plantations. But even if forests weren’t being leveled, tree-planting would still be fingers in the dike. If tree planting was a silver bullet, Holdren would be talking it up.

    NOx, CO, and other HCs will kill far fewer people than CO2 if we don’t deal with it urgently.

  • avatar
    CarShark

    @Phil Ressler

    I swear, we look back at the 70s with “global cooling” and laugh. Now we have “global warming”. I really wouldn’t be surprised if it went back down. The thing is…in the 70s, people just talked about it and worried. Now we may be committing billions upon billions of taxpayer dollars on programs in the future. Worse if hell freezes over and the Kyoto follow-up gets signed.

    And I thought ethanol was about making America less “addicted to oil” rather than as a “greener” fuel.

  • avatar

    CarShark,

    See my post directly above yours. I learned about global heating from Holdren in ’74, the same year one of the newsweeklies ran a big spread on global cooling. I’ll stick with his assessment.

  • avatar
    FromBrazil

    Good evening,

    I hope not to inflame diesel lovers and such, but diesels suck. Noisy, harsh. Yes I’ve been to Europe and seen and driven all the latest ones, they’re still noisier and vibrate more than the equivalent gas engine. Advantage is mileage, but if we see what they put out I’m totally in favor of gasoline engines.

    Gasoline engines are easier to build, arguably last as long, and though they produce CO2, like Cammy said this can be off-set. Now, NOX and the dirty, black particled material coming out of even the most recent Mercedes cars are, IMO thankfully absent from US and Brazilian cities. These things stick in people’s noses and lungs, not to mention the city itself, dirtying everything in its black soot.

    I have high hopes then for the Mercedes engine DiesOtto (combining best of Diesel and Otto cycle engines) shown in Frankfurt, that runs on gasoline. I hope they pull it through.

    Now, I could be wrong. I’ve asked many times, but have never gotten a satisfactory answer, this whole EuropexUS fight between gasoline and diesel, is it factual or just political? From what you read above in my comment, you can see I lean heavily towards the US solution.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    Okay, all you greenies out there. Let’s say for the sake of argument that CO2 REALLY is a problem.

    Do you have any solutions that are NOT government empowerment schemes? Can you propose ANY solution other than the taking of property and freedom from the people, and putting it in the hands of a bunch of idiots that ruin nearly everything they get their paws on?

    If you are right, and the planet is going to self destruct, don’t think that ASKING people to change the way they live will work any better than it is now. We want a serious solution, not a joke.

    Seriously, I would be happy to put solar panels on my roof. I will support nuclear power. I will agree to stop using my Landcrusher in the city limits if every other large vehicle is also banned, and I can buy something that will not get me stranded more than once a year in flooding. I will agree to not reproduce. I would love to see my tax bill be based on what I pollute rather than what I produce.

    I will not agree to more regulations that I do not believe will work. Billions for research that may never pan out is verboten. Subsidies for Bob’s nephew’s scheme is just waste. Let’s hear some real answers.

    OR

    Go back to your coffee shop and scheme up some other way to instill fascism into my life. I am not falling for the save the planet hoax. If you haven’t a workable solution, then I would just as soon the planet blow up without my becoming a slave to tyranny rather than the other way ’round.

    PS Seriously, shut up and listen to the news? Are you kidding? Those idiots don’t even know basic math and science. They will print, post, or preach anything if they think it will get attention. You might want to put down the pseudo science weekly and pick up a history book. This ain’t humanity’s first rodeo. Consensus has NOTHING to do with fact.

  • avatar
    Luther

    CO2 makes plants green.

  • avatar

    Landcrusher: I think the best single policy would be a carbon tax. That would force people to reduce carbon emissions, in what ever way works best for them. If they want to continue driving big cars but live in smaller houses, fine. Etc.

    But a lot of the potential solutions are good for business, and would be good for the US if we would only get a head start–wind turbines, ocean energy systems (see my article on that one at http://tinyurl.com/yrp88g/), solar collectors, etc. Cars could get much better fuel mileage (see http://tinyurl.com/tkrby/).

    Recently, someone wrote what I understand is a tecnological optimist’s look at the problem. I haven’t read it, but one of my friends who I respect has, and thinks highly of it. It is Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger’s “Break Through: From the Death of Environmentalism to the Politics of Possibility.”

  • avatar
    solbeam

    (Landcrusher)
    “PS Seriously, shut up and listen to the news? Are you kidding? Those idiots don’t even know basic math and science. They will print, post, or preach anything if they think it will get attention. You might want to put down the pseudo science weekly and pick up a history book. This ain’t humanity’s first rodeo. Consensus has NOTHING to do with fact.”
    :)
    Ok, you are right about most News sources. But I also said something about educating.
    I’m not telling anyone to do anything, I’m just saying folks from North America or Australia shouldn’t lecture Europeans about saving the environment. Clean up your own mess then we can talk.

    (Phil Ressler)
    “The US has a clear and sustained track record as an environmental leader among industrialized nations and was the first among them to aggressively roll back environmental damage from real pollutants.”
    The US dealt with its immediate environmental problems, but I really can’t see an “environmental leader”. There must be some serious cool-aid in the water supplies.

  • avatar
    bluecon

    The people of Europe allow themselves to be run by the UNELECTED European Union and you talk about kool aid in the water? Europe is willingly walking down the path to communism. I hope the disease doesn’t catch over here.

    “The Betrayal of Freedom in Europe: Back in the EUSSR
    Nevertheless, the European leaders are determined, no matter what their electorates say, to transform the EU into a USE. As Jean-Claude Juncker, the prime minister of Luxembourg, said prior to the referendums: “If the vote is yes, we will say: We go ahead. If it is no, we will say: We continue.” Or as the former president of France, Valery Giscard d’Estaing, the chairman of the so-called convention, which drew up the constitution, said: “The rejection of the constitution [by the voters in referendums] was a mistake which will have to be corrected.””

    http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/1019

  • avatar
    solbeam

    The Framework of the European Union has its flaws.
    But…
    The European Union exemplifies the willingness of European countries to work together and reach Solutions through compromise.
    Maybe you prefer the, “you are with us or against us” trait of diplomacy?

    The EU is regulated by a number of institutions:
    European Parliament
    The European Parliament is the directly elected parliamentary body of the European Union.

    Council of the European Union
    Is composed of twenty-seven national ministers (one per state). However the exact membership depends upon the topic being discussed, for example; when discussing the agricultural policy the twenty-seven national agriculture ministers form the Council. The ministers are accountable to their national electorates.

    European Commission
    The candidates are chosen primarily by the 27 national governments, meaning it is hard for the Commission to be thrown out directly by the voters. The legitimacy of the Commission is mainly drawn from the vote of approval that is required from the Parliament along with Parliament’s power to sack the body.

  • avatar
    Virtual Insanity

    Landcrusher:

    To bad this site doesn’t have rep ratings, I give you some big ones after that nice post. I’ve always found it odd that the people who claim to despise the police state are the ones who want one so bad. Who was it that said every dictator supports democracy before he destroys it?

    Here’s a good idea to save some trees…stop reading the NY Times and LA Times.

    FromBrazil:

    Its entirely political. A good portion of Americans could, in reality, care less about what powers there car, as long as it gets them from point a to point b whilst allowing them to talk on the cell phone, put on make up, eat breakfast, read the paper, and stuff little Johnny’s face full of doughnuts before school. I have one friend who didn’t even know there was a difference between diesel and regular gas.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    D. Holzman,

    I would be a good supporter of pollution taxes of all sorts, so long as you first eliminate the income tax.

    After that, you could merge the EPA and the IRS and go at it. I suspect that we would get less taxes and have to raise the rates as people started polluting less.

    Ideally, I would not like our government fiddling around with things like this because undoubtedly there will be a lot of haggling for different industries to get advantages over others. However, since we have that now, it will not be a step backwards.

    The big problem you will have, I suspect, is getting enough votes from the left. Good luck with that.

  • avatar

    Landcrusher,

    I’d love a consumption tax on the model that Robert Frank of Cornell U has proposed. And a straight carbon tax. No exemptions. Agree with you about the haggling.

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