Germany promised to support a European Union plan for binding curbs on carbon dioxide from cars, saying voluntary targets by manufacturers including Volkswagen AG are inadequate.
Today's pledge by Transport Minister Wolfgang Tiefensee comes as the European Commission prepares to seek mandatory caps to replace agreements with automakers. The draft law from the commission, the 27-nation EU's regulatory arm, will need the backing of national governments and the European Parliament. „There is no way to avoid binding legal limits,” Tiefensee told reporters in Brussels. „The automobile industry has to make a greater contribution” to reducing emissions. Cars account for more than a tenth of the EU's emissions of carbon dioxide, the main gas blamed for global warming. The EU has accords with European, Japanese and South Korean automakers that aim to reduce emissions in Western Europe by 25% to 140 grams of carbon dioxide a kilometer in 2008-2009 compared with 1995.
The EU says the automobile industry is falling short of that goal. The bloc also says carmakers should go further by aiming to cut carbon-dioxide releases to 120 grams a kilometer in 2012. Tiefensee called that target for 2012 „very ambitious” and said any EU system of binding caps should be based on classes of vehicles to give flexibility to luxury carmakers such as Germany-based Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, the world's largest producer of such vehicles. The commission intends to propose a single cap of 120 grams a kilometer for 2012 for all cars produced or sold in the EU and to give carmakers room to work together to achieve the goal, according to commission environment spokeswoman Barbara Helfferich. The commission aims to outline its plan for legislation in a policy paper due in several weeks and to present a draft proposal later this year, she said. The EU is aiming to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by 8% in 2008-2012 compared with 1990 under the global Kyoto Protocol. As part of its plans to fight climate change, the bloc also intends to extend to airlines a system of caps on factory and power-plant emissions of carbon dioxide. (Bloomberg)