German environment minister threatens fines for carmakers


German carmakers may face fines if they do not radically reduce carbon dioxide emissions from premium cars starting in 2012, German Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel warned Sunday in an interview.

Each manufacturer is to be governed by an upper limit, averaging all the cars it makes in the European Union. “There are makers of fancy sports cars who are not going to make it,” Gabriel told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa. He appealed to the manufacturers to cease calls for the start date of 2012 to be moved back. It has been proposed that makers unable to sufficiently reduce CO2 emissions for their fleet of models pay a cash penalty.

“Otherwise the maximum wouldn’t make any sense,” said Gabriel, adding that Berlin had proposed such fines during its EU presidency that ended in June and that many EU members had been supportive. Manufacturers have strongly criticized the proposal for penalties. The limits have not yet been proclaimed. “We are not going to soften the timetable,” said Gabriel. “We won’t be taking off the pressure.”

EU leaders and the EU Commission in Brussels have agreed that the average new car sold after 2012 should not emit more than 120 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometer traveled. The current average on cars in Germany is 164 grams. “A lot of manufacturers ought to be able to comply,” said Gabriel. “They just need to get started with the technology.” (m&


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