EU officials seek tougher emissions rules for cars

- ASSOCIATED PRESS, FRANKFURT (Germany)

Oct 12, 2018-

European Union officials are pushing ahead with tougher car emissions standards aimed at fighting global warming—but which auto industry representatives said could hurt a major source of manufacturing jobs.

Officials from the council of EU member governments, parliament and the executive Commission were to negotiate Wednesday in the wake of environment ministers’ agreement late Tuesday to require automakers to reduce average emissions of carbon dioxide by 35 percent from 2021.

The Commission had initially proposed 30 percent, and the parliament voted for 40 percent; talks now aim to reach a final agreement before the end of the year.

Elisabeth Koestinger, minister of sustainability and tourism for Austria, which holds the rotating EU presidency, said the deal among member governments “sets the European automobile industry on track to build cleaner cars, invest more in innovation, and report more reliable emissions data.”

Some European officials expressed disappointment that the 35 percent goal agreed on under the compromise wasn’t tougher, especially following a UN climate panel’s urgently-worded warning Monday about the far-reaching consequences of failing to contain global warming.

But the European auto industry association said that while carmakers support reducing greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, the proposed reduction risks harming auto workers and their companies’ competitiveness. It said the 3.4 million jobs in automotive manufacturing represent 11 percent of total EU manufacturing employment.

The German Association of the Automotive Industry, which represents major automakers such as BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen, said the 35 percent agreement among governments “missed the chance to formulate the regulation in a way that is realistic technically and economically.”

The association’s president, Bernhard Mattes, said it was “already clear that the EU will decide CO2 goals for the auto industry that are too high.”

Published: 12-10-2018 08:57

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