Monday, 15 September 2008

EU's New Car CO2 Rules "are illegal"

A regulation forcing car makers to cut average CO2 emissions to 130g/km for their model ranges, or face hefty fines, has been declared illegal.

That was the decision of the EU Parliament's Legal Affairs Committee which met on 9 September, prompting fears that negotiations on targets, fines and start-dates may have to start from scratch next year.

Consumer web site has also learned that committee members expressed "utmost misgivings" about methods for collecting fines from car makers and with plans to use these as revenue for European Union budgets.

"This decision is extremely serious," said Jay Nagley, Clean Green Cars publisher. "The committee said that the proper legal basis for the regulation is Article 175 of the EC Treaty which deals with environmental laws. But it has been drafted under Article 95, which prevents market distortions. This isn't just a technicality; the whole legal basis of the regulation could be challenged."

The new car CO2 regulation is self-evidently an environmental measure, so it is hardly surprising that this question has been raised. It appears that the EU wanted a single pan-European regulation, so has tried to squeeze it through under single market rules in Article 95.
However, this looks like putting the cart before the horse as the regulation is primarily an environmental measure. What the EU is trying to avoid is a rule which would allow far more flexibility. If proposals were to be re-drafted under Article 175, one country could set tougher CO2 limits than those in a neighbouring state.

The decision comes shortly after discussions in Parliament's Industry Committee. Its members infuriated socialist MEPs by tabling amendments to water-down CO2 targets, extend deadlines for compliance, and cut fines for car makers.

The Parliament's Environment Committee, which is leading the process, must now consider these views. It should have voted last week. However, amid rumours of heated rows and political tensions, the vote has been postponed until 25 September.

A plenary vote in parliament has been scheduled for 20 October. This is the date when elected representatives should have the opportunity to vote on final proposals, either paving the way for adoption of the rules by the end of the year, or dragging the issue on into 2009. The latter now seems most likely.

Press Release from 15th September 2008


Woody said...

Get out of the E.U. while you still have some freedoms and self-determination remaining.

Anonymous said...

How does this compare with the situation in California?

Paul Biggs said...

I'm not really up on the US situation. I know California wants individual states to set their own CO2 limits, rather than having a national limit - both McCain and Obama support that, or did before brains and beauty came along in the form of Sarah Palin!

Anonymous said...

I understand global temps have dropped in 2008 to 1980 levels and are expected to drop further while CO2 increases, where is the evidence that a rise in CO2 causes a rise in temperature, CO2 is not a pollutant, it is part of the staff of life without it we will all be dead.
All these loony Greens and Libs should be transported to the third world, they would have NO worry about CO2 emissions over there, food would be there greatest concern, less CO2 less food.

Bill said...

Paul - my extended family is involved in a small scale civil war over whether global warming is man-made or not. There are credentials on both sides. My belief is one of moderate skepticism, however a family member points to National Geographic, Scientific American as evidence that temps are going up. Can you point me to a resource that is reliable, objective and current that would communicate (in somewhat non-technical terms)facts about atmospheric and ocean temperatures decreasing over the past couple of years? Thanks

Bill said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Paul Biggs said...


National Geographic and Scientific American are not peer reviewed journals, nor do they provide a balanced perspective on climate change.

Certainly, the world has generally warmed since the Little Ice Age ended around 1850. Many factors are involved in this warming. Surface temperature measurements likely contain a warm bias, e.g:

It is true that the upper ocean heat content has not increased since 2004:

and the globe has cooled since 2002, despite record rises in CO2 emissions, mainly from developed countries: