By on October 7, 2013


After lobbying by Germany, the governments of the European Union have for the third time delayed implementation of carbon dioxide emissions targets for Europe’s new cars. The proposed limits would have been reduced CO2 emissions from new cars to 95 grams per kilometer.

At a meeting of EU states, Germany’s request to delay a vote on the new limits was supported by Great Britain, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government in Germany would like to increase the 2020 targeted limits from the previously agreed upon 95g/km the equivalent of 59 U.S. mpg.  Right now regulations permit as much as 130g/km.

Germany’s auto industry would like a longer phase in period, allowing automakers until 2024 for full implementation of the standard. Greg Archer,  of Transport & Environment, an environmental advocacy group, said  in a statement that Germany’s maneuvering was intended to give Mercedes-Benz and BMW a competitive advantage. The issue will be deferred to an EU vote later this month.

EU sources last month said that French automakers, Renault and PSA/Peugeot-Citroen, now support the gradual phase in, having reversed their previous position under pressure from their German partners. While the French companies would have a competitive advantage under the new rules because they sell smaller cars than the German luxury marques, they are also tied to the German car makes. Renault has an industrial alliance with Daimler, Mercedes-Benz’s parent company, and BMW is developing engines with PSA.

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39 Comments on “Germany Lobbies EU To Slow Implementation of CO2 Limits...”

  • avatar

    Interesting. Why are they so obsessed with carbon? Why not tax water vapor, which is more of a green house gas?

    • 0 avatar

      CO2 = fuel economy. If you burn more fuel you make more CO2, and if you burn less you make less, there’s no way around it. It’s just their way of regulating fuel economy.

    • 0 avatar

      >Interesting. Why are they so obsessed with carbon? Why not tax water vapor, which is more of a green house gas?

      Because water falls out of the atmosphere in the form of rain. CO2 on the other hand, would take many orders of magnitude longer to be absorbed out. Ie, there’s a limit to how much water that the atmosphere can hold, but the CO2 levels can climb with impunity if the rate of production exceeds the rate of absorption.

      • 0 avatar

        OK, then, please give me some concrete numbers as what’s the current level of water vapor in the air and what’s the limit you are talking about.

        • 0 avatar

          The real answer, as always, is not so straightforward:


          “So why aren’t climate scientists a lot more worried about water vapour than about CO2? The answer has to do with how long greenhouse gases persist in the atmosphere. For water, the average is just a few days.

          This rapid turnover means that even if human activity was directly adding or removing significant amounts of water vapour (it isn’t), there would be no slow build-up of water vapour as is happening with CO2 (see Climate myths: Human CO2 emissions are tiny compared with natural sources).

          The level of water vapour in the atmosphere is determined mainly by temperature, and any excess is rapidly lost. The level of CO2 is determined by the balance between sources and sinks, and it would take hundreds of years for it to return to pre-industrials levels even if all emissions ceased tomorrow. Put another way, there is no limit to how much rain can fall, but there is a limit to how much extra CO2 the oceans and other sinks can soak up.”

          • 0 avatar

            Your reasoning only works on a Texas farm with one-off water vapor emission.

            In a dense city such as New York, there is a constant supply of water vapor from cars, thus increasing the water vapor density in the local area permanently. In the summer time, that effect will multiply with the need to use air conditioner to cause further warming and waste of energy.

            In short, it may not cause a global warming directly. But it does warm up metro centers and through the waste of air conditioning energy, cause a global warming indirectly.

          • 0 avatar

            >In a dense city such as New York, there is a constant supply of water vapor from cars, thus increasing the water vapor density in the local area permanently.

            Your high school physics teacher must have loved you…

          • 0 avatar

            You are exactly right. Straight A’s in Physics up to 2nd year in the university. That’s when I don’t have any more Physics class.

      • 0 avatar

        Exactly. Water vapor cools, condenses and forms clouds. Clouds build until they become saturated. The tiny droplets collide, get heavier and gravity takes over, and they fall as precipitation, If the ambient temperature is above freezing, it falls as rain. If it is below freezing it falls as sleet, graupel or snow. If the upper atmosphere is above freezing and lower atmosphere is below, it falls as rain that freezes to the surface on contact. Fog is just condensation (due to stable atmospheric conditions) that occurs at ground level. Virga is rain that falls but re-evaporates into the atmosphere before reaching the ground. Hail is when rain drops are carried aloft by severe up drafts so that the rain drop freezes, the updraft can no longer carry it, and the frozen ball falls back down, as it passes through the rainy layer in the atmosphere it “grows” with more water freezing – if the up draft it encounters is strong enough to lift the larger hail stone, it goes back up again, above the freezing level, until it breaks from the up draft force, and descends again. Eventually gravity wins this battle and the up draft can no longer hold the weight, and the hail hits the ground (so the next time you hear about baseball size hail think about the forces involved to make that happen).

        CO2 is absorbed by plant life, in the oceans (when excessive causing acidification) and takes thousands of years to get out of the atmosphere. I’ve cores have trapped CO2 giving us a hundreds of thousands of years long record of its fluctuations. Core samples taken at different places show the same CO2 levels at equivalent time adding validation.

        With that said, in Europe, the United States, Canada and Japan emission standards are so tight already, CO2 levels produced by motor transport is already below historical highs, Any offset is being eliminated by the massive expansion in China and India, and China’s particular use of crap grade coal for electrical generation (which adds other nasty crap to the atmosphere).

        If you really don’t think this is a problem, spend a summer in Beijing without a mask and in a non-filtered air building and report back to us.

        With all that said, the EU new standard for CO2 is pretty much anti-transportation and expensive to achieve for makers and consumers alike, People that love to point out the “great” public transit in Europe have never traveled outside of urban cores and see how, just like in the United States, if you don’t have access to a car, transit sucks at best.

        The water cycle has been taught to grade school children for over 100 years, well before the idea of global warming was a twinkle in a scientists eye. The suggestion that water vapor is the issue is a bit – odd at best. The impact on increasing amounts of CO2 in an atmosphere is basically proven out, back to those ice cores and our own planetary exploration. CO2 levels are at the highest level of record – man’s record – that is fact (but well below post-historic age levels). We also can look at weather records from the 1400s and trade records and see the planet was MUCH warmer before the Little Ice Age that helped contribute to the Dark Ages, plague, and about 50% of the European population dying off from disease and starvation.

        In those pre Little Ice Age records the French crown laments how the vineyards (wine was a key French export for trade) were dying and how England was producing fine vintages in comparison. We can determine from the over 100 years of records before the Little Ice Age started that France was MUCH hotter, and England was warm and dry during the day and cool and damp in the evenings (good wine growing conditions). These historical records were created before there was even a remote understanding of a globe (almost all believed the world was flat) or some conspiracy to screw with society 650 years later.

        We know the Little Ice Age started to fizzle out around 1850 – about the same time as industrialization gripped the globe and with it population growth explosion. WHY did it end, is very hard to say – but the impact of CO2 and increasing warmth is well documented. A 7th grader could have explained it in 1950.

        • 0 avatar

          Do a simple experiment.

          1) Open your shower faucet to spray hot water non stop to simulate the non stop gasoline usage in traffic in metro areas.

          2) Measure the humidity in the shower room vs. outside.

          • 0 avatar

            Not a valid example. You’re taking an enclosed room with no circulation, no surface warming from the sun. Second, if I turn off the shower and take a sample 15 minutes later it returns to normal.

            Here is an experiment for you, put four charcoal hibachids lit in a bathroom for 30 minutes and then take a sample of CO and CO2 levels. Since you seem to think this is harmless, hang out in the room and take deep breaths of the nice safe combustion fiemes.

            By the way, you never provided a link to the $10,000 dealer discounts on a Verano Turbo, 2013 or 2014 new model. Give me the link and I’ll buy it today.

          • 0 avatar

            The atmosphere model of a metro area can’t be assumed to be 100% efficient in venting either. As noted above, the air temperature of metro areas is typically 5~10 degrees higher than surrounding areas, even during night time. If it’s that efficient, we should see a temperature “reset” every night. But we don’t, not in NY.

            Instead, it takes multiple days for that amount of air to completely vent, assuming there is no new emission (of heat or water vapor).

            It’s like a shower room with an open window. It will return to normal, if there is no new emission and after X amount of time. It will stay high, if there is a constant amount of new emission.

        • 0 avatar

          “The suggestion that water vapor is the issue is a bit – odd at best.”

          In the week–ONE(!) week–after 9/11 when planes were grounded, there was a measurable change in global climate–sunlight was brighter, high temps were higher, low temps were lower. That data combined with satellite photo comparisons led researchers to conclude the absence of contrail clouds (water vapor from jet exhaust condensing) to be the culprit.

          What does it mean? I don’t think we know the full answer, but it is very reasonable to conclude that artificially adding H2O vapor to the atmosphere has a bigger effect than most believe.

          It’s true the water cycle removes excess moisture in the form of rain, but it’s also true that clouds have a near-infinitely larger effect than CO2, and most clouds don’t rain.

          Personally I am not concerned (much) about water vapor emissions, but I will not say they are not nor cannot be a problem for climate. When I was in college, CO2 was officially not a pollutant. Things changed. Things may similarly change for water vapor.

          Additionally, if govt regulations really were about climate, then they should address the multiple ways our actions affect it. Heat island effect was mentioned above. Why don’t building codes require heat-reflective roofing materials? If all the rooftops in a city reflected heat instead of absorbing it, there should be a measurable decrease in the heat island effect not to mention reduced energy consumption from less AC.

          I guess that’s my main problem–I am disappointed that we demonize certain things while completely ignoring other factors. For example, we constantly hear about reducing fuel consumption and higher mpg requirements but very little about enabling living near work (or working near home) to reduce commuting.

        • 0 avatar

          APaGttH – – –

          Excellent discussion. Yours is the the type of contribution that makes “TTAC” famous…

          However, CO2 is far form the only culprit in Global Temperature Rise (my term).

          In my view (and in view of the separate analysis I did years ago), the surface temperature of the oceans has in fact been rising, as we know from NOAA stations around the world years ago. And we know that polar ice has been melting.

          But surface temps do not mean that overall ocean temps have necessarily been rising. Lower depth temperatures have been largely unchanged, and even cooler in some locations, allowing an occasional regeneration of surface ice later. And the surface layer measured by floating buoys is a tiny fraction of an ocean’s volume. We do know that there is a periodic affect of long-term solar output in ways that we can’t easily measure or understand, since the surface temperature of Mars has also been increasing over the past 50 years, and THAT has nothing to do the man-made CO2 on earth.

          In summary, no one has convinced me of the separation-of-variables issues (and “voting” by a pseudo-scientific panel** who assign probabilities is NOT science!):
          1) How much of any increasing temperature on earth is caused by man-made factors?
          2) How much of any temperature increase on earth is part of natural cycles?
          3) How much of any temperature-rise effect is caused by added methane or water vapor in the atmosphere, HUGE “green-house” gases?
          4) As mentioned above, how much of this effect is caused by solar-activity increases?
          5) What about volcanic or earthquake effects from inside the earth?
          6) What about radiation, cosmic-ray, or other effects from elsewhere in the universe around us?
          7) Is any temperature rise the consequence of long-term natural temperature cycles that have always been part of our planet’s history?

          So, before we buy into the Al Gore type of “Man-Did-It” syndrome, let’s do some decent science….


          • 0 avatar

            Agreed – and in my post I noted that we have records that show the earth was much warmer then now. We also have a road map on what can happen when there is a very rapid shift in climate (and we shouldn’t get complacent because we have technology).

            I like what George Carlin said – to paraphrase it is amazing arrogant to think we as a species could save the planet. Planet earth could shake us off like a bad case of fleas any time she wants too.

            Finally, wgn’s utter lack of understanding for 7th grade level meteorology or what causes heat islands is stunning. It isn’t humidity, it’s concrete and heat absorbing materials. Earth and plants don’t absorb or hold as much heat as brick, tamac and concrete. Water holds even less. If anything, from the heat island effect relative humidity would be lower.

            For example, if I’m in NYC and the nighttime low is 62 in Manhattan, and the dew point is 57, the relative humidity is 83%. If I move say 15 miles northeast, the dew point could be 56 and the air temp 56 for 100% humidity. In NYC a parked car would be dry, well 15 miles northwest it would be covered in dew. Dew points don’t change to the extreme in relatively calm air (since is argument includes a lack of circulation) unless you have strong boundaries between cold, dry air masses and warm, moist masses. We see these collisions from March to June as summer advances into the plains and again in September and October as the jet stream fluctuates.

            Anyone denying things are warmer, pause or not, has their head in the sand. Anyone screaming by golly it’s 100% man made doesn’t have the answer either. We don’t know why – we just know.

            We also know the sudden cooling of the earth in less than a generation destroyed the European population and put western civilization on the brink – ushering in 200 plus years of disease, famine, religious and political oppression, and religious wars for basic resources and trade, We ignore our past at our own peril. The why is irrelevant.

            But others are quite accurate to point out, CO2 is not the only great evil, and for modern catalytic converter based vehicles, emissions aren’t the huge deal they were 40 years ago – not even close.

      • 0 avatar
        suspension guy

        Idiotic – the idea that CO2 is a pollutant. It is a required nutrient. Everything we eat is made from it via plants in the food chain. To get optimized plant growth CO2 levels must be increased. We exhale it. What’s next, an exercise tax for breathing harder? Have any of these idiot scientists ever bothered to calculate the caloric input of human activity into the atmosphere? It is way more significant than CO2, which might actually lower the temperature due to increased cloud cover and increased plant growth. This is all about the tax.

    • 0 avatar

      We can’t demonize water vapor until after we switch to a hydrogen economy and then realize all the extra H2O in the exaust causes climate change all by itself (sans carbon).

      Perhaps a better question to ask is: Why not just raise the fuel tax some more? The actual damage to the environment is dependent not so much on the car as how much fuel it burns.

      • 0 avatar

        A fuel tax is a double punch as the tax is passed on to consumers increasing the cost of goods. While increasing C02 targets or MPGs will most certainly add to the cost of a vehicle, its a one time hit.

        • 0 avatar

          All that matters is the total hit on the economy. If it comes out all at once or a little over time, it’s still the same drain & effect.

          That being said, diversification is a good thing. Taxing many things a little bit spreads the risk & evens the benefit.

          If increasing costs of shipments is a problem, it can easily be solved. Commercial transport fuel can be taxed differently (much like farm fuel). A commercial transportation tax credit can be created. We can incentivize switching trucks to CNG and tax that only a tiny amount.

          For the record, I approve of mpg standards (but not the pluralizing of “mpg”). I think these standards are a good thing, at least in the US where they haven’t gotten so out of hand as to effectively turn cars into mopeds.

    • 0 avatar

      Slowing implementation of CO2 limites is unfair to Fiat and it’s multi air engines which have lower CO2 emissions.

  • avatar

    CO2 emissions from ALL light motor vehicles in the EU is less than 4% of total global CO2 emissions from all sources. Whittling away at 4% of the problem at potentially considerable cost is bogus. Establishing the principle that regulating CO2 emissions from light motor vehicles is valid makes a certain sense for the long term. The way you do this is to establish whatever standards the market dictates anyway or possibly something close that and which is easy to obtain technically and relatively cheap.

    This flap sounds like a simple pissing contest between the French and the German automakers. The French make smaller cars than the Germans.

    Interestingly, the French generate nearly all of their base load electricity from nukes (no CO2, but potentially dangerous). The Germans use mostly lignite coal (lots and lots of CO2), and they have been talking about shutting down the few nukes they do have.

    • 0 avatar

      See NOPR’s comment above.

      • 0 avatar

        Thanks for the tip. I am still left puzzled why the EU bureaucrats would want to mandate further increases in, essentially, light vehicle fleet fuel economy. The mandated decrease in CO2 emissions from 2006 to 2013 followed the considerable run up in world oil prices over the same period. In other words, it simply validated, more or less, what the market forces were dictating for the whole system. As a former regulator, I can assure you that this is the best kind of regulation. The cock crows in the morning, and sure enough, a few minutes later the sun rises in the east.

        World oil prices have peaked for this long cycle, and we are now about to see a considerable decline – at least 30% and maybe even eventually 50%. This is very obvious here in Texas, the epicenter of fracking activity. On oil deals, we are figuring months to payout based on both $100 and $70. We recently got burned on natural gas deals when additional supplies from fracking broke the market price by more than 50%.

        What in the world are the EU regulators’ thinking? Here on the plains of the central USA, boys are taught from an early age that it is unwise to urinate into the wind.

    • 0 avatar

      The Germans are also moving to solar in a big way, despite their less-than-ideal geography.

  • avatar

    Using the ol’ number of pirates vs global warming logic, I propose that all German cars be sold with full weightlifting sets in the trunk. All you gotta’ do is move the dots to the right.

    Daimler would need a pretty hefty set…..

  • avatar

    Improving fuel economy lowers CO2 emissions, and better fuel economy, while maintaining vehicle size and performance requires expensive technology and higher prices. High purchase price + lower operating costs = more driving to recover the initial price. More driving = more CO2. This is called rebound effect and is the reason higher efficiency standards rarely lead to decreased fuel use and lower CO2 emissions.

    • 0 avatar

      “High purchase price + lower operating costs = more driving to recover the initial price. More driving = more CO2.”

      Huh… Unless you mean driving a vehicle for a longer period of time until you replace it with a newer more efficient model?

      Otherwise it seems like your saying in order to offset the higher purchase price a person would be compelled to use the vehicle more often in the same amount of time (for example doubling the distance you commute to and from work to justify the increased efficiency at a higher price point).

      • 0 avatar

        The insurance industry has found that hybrid car owners drive about 20% more annual miles than comparable “conventional” car owners. If your car is very fuel efficient, you might take some extra trips you would otherwise not take, or perhaps consider buying a house a bit further way from work, because it will cost very little extra to make the extra distance. Rebound effect has been demonstrated in numerous studies going back over 150 years.

    • 0 avatar

      Amongst those of us trained in classical microeconomics, the ‘rebound effect’ is referred to as ‘just another part of microeconomics’. Thank you very much, Alfred Marshall (a famous 19th century guy from England). You make the marginal cost of anything cheaper, and consumers will use more of it in the short run. How much more can vary all over the place depending on the specifics. Usually, what you guys call the ‘rebound effect’ is quite a bit less than the initial reduction from regulation, but it is real and can be a significant offset.

  • avatar
    Felis Concolor

    Why does the EU hate trees?

  • avatar


    There, fixed.

  • avatar

    How about regulating methane gas produced by cows. IIRC, you could earn tons of greenhouse gas credits by becoming a vegetarian.

    Steak or cars….. steak or cars……

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    The Germans are the new economic might of the Eurozone.

    They are reacting no differently than the US does with the influence it exerts over the NA continent.

    Also remember the Germans are the worlds seccond largest exporters after the Chinese.

    The Germans want, they will get, but they have to remember there are many countries that will probably oppose ie, France.

    It will be interesting to see if the new US German inspired UAW supports these new Euro CO2 limits.

    Higher Euro CO2 limits will make them more competitive with US regulations.

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