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EU to Propose Legislation to Limit CO2 from Cars

In an interview with European Voice, Stavros Dimas, the European Commissioner for the Environment, said that the Commission will recommend legislation establishing binding targets for the reduction of CO2 emissions from cars.

Up to now, efforts to cut CO2 emissions have been voluntary, with the industry targeting an interim level of 140 g/km by 2008 on the way to the EU target of 120 g/km by 2012. However, three-quarters of the 20 major car brands sold in Europe last year have failed to improve fuel efficiency at the rate needed to meet that 2008 target, according to a recent study. (Earlier post.)

But in a review of EU measures to reduce CO2 emissions from cars, expected on 12 December, the Commission is to recommend legislation. Dimas refused to confirm the publication date but said “we will be bringing out legislation to cut CO2 emissions from cars soon.”

“The latest Commission figures show an average of 161g for new cars in 2004,” the Greek commissioner said. “It looks like there is no way manufacturers will meet the 140g target in time.”

A draft of the proposal has just been sent to other Commission departments. The commissioner said that although details were still under discussion, the legislation would be closely based on the voluntary agreement—i.e., one target for the whole industry, rather than individual targets.

Dimas said that biofuels would not be part of the new proposal. The CO2 law would require approval of member states and MEPs under the EU’s co-decision procedure.



I dislike those burocrats in Brussels so much. All they do is to promote dirty diesel.
1. All Euro emission norms have different criteria for diesel and gasoline (e.g.allow higher NOx and PM for diesel).
2. If they worry about GHG than they should regulate GHG and not only CO2. NOx is also GHG if Im not mistaking (beside being toxic)therefore should be included. By leaving it out, they openly promote diesel (which has lower CO2 due to lower consumption).
It smells BIG LOBBY, nothing else.

Rafael Seidl

Atir -

easy. The European Commission can only propose legislation. It has to be approved by both the European Parliament and the European Council (i.e. the governments of member states) to become law. You should actually expect a big push back by the refineries and the auto industry on this. There's only so much middle distillate in a barrel of oil and, biodiesel and synthetics (xTL) are much more expensive. It is already well-understood that the low-hanging fruit has been picked. Gasoline engines are already being taught new tricks to achieve further reductions in fleet average CO2 emissions / fuel consumption. Full hybridization (cp. Toyota Prius) is one such trick, but it remains an expensive one.

Keep in mind that the only reason the auto industry entered into the voluntary agreement in the first place was to head off precisely this type of legislation. They have failed partly because tighter safety standards forced them to add weight to their vehicles, but mostly because profits on small, fuel-sipping cars are small as well.

Europe's carmakers still need to figure out how to drive the manufacturing cost down and, the size of the vehicle series required to amortize big-ticket items such as sheetmetal presses and welding lines. It took the Japanese a long time to hone their skills in this regard, so a proposal to madate a fleet average of 120 g CO2/km as soon as 2012 would spell bankruptcy for some (not all) of Europe's best-known brands, which also provide employment to millions of workers. That's why it has virtually no chance of passing.

A more useful approach might be to require a fleet average of 140 g CO2/km plus a per-vehicle cap of 210 g CO2/km by 2012. This would force carmakers to make their their top-of-the-line models more fuel efficient and, to spend their marketing dollars on redefining their customers' priorities away from serious performance and toward serious greenery. Getting people to change their mind about what they really want takes time. "Halo" models are used to define brand identity and generate customer loyalty. The technologies initially developed for them tend to trickle down to higher-volume vehicles a few years later.

By 2016, the CO2 limits should come down to 120 and 180, respectively. By 2020, 100 and 150 would be desirable but the final targets should only be set in 2012, based on what proves possible both technologically and in the market between now and then.


Right. What if between now and 2020, we can prove iron powder seeding of the oceans, done correctly, does absorb enormous quantities of CO2 cheaply, w/positives for marine life to boot.



You are not the only one who have same impression.

Richard S. Lindzen, professor of meteorology at the MIT:

“The remarkable centrality of carbon dioxide means that dealing with the threat of warming fits in with a great variety of preexisting agendas--some legitimate, some less so: energy efficiency, reduced dependence on Middle Eastern oil, dissatisfaction with industrial society (neopastoralism), international competition, governmental desires for enhanced revenues (carbon taxes), and bureaucratic desires for enhanced power.”


Mandating a fleet average of 140g/km of CO2 will mean that Daimler Chrysler and BMW will each need to buy up a small car brand. Neither will dilute their mark by selling econocars, the Mini notwithstanding. DC isn't going to sell boatloads of Dodges. This will be great for Fiat which is the obvious low-hanging fruit. That leaves VW, Ford, or GM for the other to buy up. The French (along with Nissan) are doing well enough on their own for the near future. Renault must be thanking it's lucky star that it won the F1 title this year. To mandate a further streamlining of auto manufacturing is in the European industry's own best interest. China and India will ascend by 2020. Economies of scale will need to be leveraged for the native European industry to survive. Those boys in Brussels have a head on their shoulders, and probably own some shares of stock.


Andrey cites regarding global warming:

Andrey, the Cato Institute is a bunch of right-wing idealogues. They are not scientists. I would not trust anything out of there.


I do not TRUST anybody on such controversial matter as GW. I’ve spent hundreds of hours researching the issue before I allowed myself to post any related comments on this site.

Regarding your warning:

Sure thing, SCIENTIFIC finding of Cato institute researchers, which are not in PERFECT lining with leftist POLITICAL agenda, render them as not scientists.

Thank you for exposing how GW political agenda is promoted by.

Rafael Seidl

JC -

you're right to point out that German manufacturers have traditionally produced cars with larger engines than their French and Italian competitors. Moreover, they have been more successful in selling expensive luxury limousines and sports cars (Italian racers don't sell in anything like the same volume).

In Europe, Mercedes sells A and B class models. BMW has its 1 series. Neither is even available in the US. However, even with the smallest available diesel engines, these vehicles still emit 130-150 g CO2/km. That's not low enough to reach a fleet average target of 140, never mind 120.

You're almost certainly right to assert that they will not dilute their premium brands with econoboxes. DCX is trying to talk up Chrysler and Dodge in Europe - good luck to them. BMW is trying to push hydrogen because it produced no CO2 *tailpipe* emissions, which is what gets counted here - good luck on that score, too.

However, given that current top-of-the-line S class and (non-hydrogen) 7 series models produce between 215-250 (diesel) and 220-330 (gasoline) g CO2/km, I'd argue that introducing a new per-vehicle cap of 210 g CO2/km by 2012 would do wonders to concentrate these companies' finest minds on fuel economy innovations. Taking stakes in existing economy brands is another option iff these are operated at arm's length, as running a low-margin commodity business is very different from running a high-margin premium business. Also, the legislation would have to account for fleet average CO2 emissions by corporation rather than by brand (as is the case with the voluntary commitment).

The trouble with focussing exclusively on achieving a low fleet average is that it will encourage carmakers to hang on to their cherished notions of what a luxury car should be and, to compensate for the high CO2 emissions by building cheap econoboxes exclusively in Eastern Europe (cp. Renault's Dacia Logan). That will lead to accelerated job losses in Western Europe's car plants, with all that entails.



I would not pay attention to ostensibly scientific work if it came out of a left wing idealogical organization either. That is the point. Real academics do the research first, then draw conclusions. "Think tanks" like the Cato Institute, American Enterprise Institute, etc. start with a conclusion, and attempt to justify it. Their work smells like "science", but usually is not published in a peer reviewed journal. Their institutions have the trappings of academia, minus the students, the research, and the peer review. The "fellows" of these "institutes" often don't even have formal training in the field they are writing about. They are, in short, propaganda factories.

The particular Cato article you cited was written by Richard Lindzen, who is in fact a climate scientist. The article however is little more than an op-ed piece. It is not peer reviewed. Lindzen is a GW skeptic, and as such appears to be out of the mainstream in his field. He complains in the article that he and a handful of other GW skeptics are not enjoying great success of late, and seems to imply a vast left wing conspiracy or some such.

If this were an obscure scientific question without great bearing on mankind, I am sure that skeptics would be more welcome, and they could argue until they draw their final breath. But GW is different. If the vast majority of scientists are right, but we do nothing for decades because of a few cranks muddying the waters, we will suffer substantial economic disruptions at the very least, and possibly catastrophe. If the skeptics are right and everyone else is wrong, but we transition to a low carbon regime because we followed the more cautious route, what are the consequences? We will have spent perhaps hundreds of billions of dollars on R&D, altered global geopolitics (probably for the better), caused a few oil billionaires to be slightly less insanely wealthy, created a whole new clean energy industry, with a whole new crop of billionaires... American suburbanites will drive reasonable sized cars instead of idiotic fake military vehicles... Frankly, I don't see much of a downside here, except for a handful of very rich and powerful people. In fact, I see a substantial upside. But if we continue to indulge a few oil industry funded skeptics, the possible downside is huge, and the upside is not that much. Obviously, I am discounting the oil industry propaganda that our cherished "way of life" will be destroyed.

If you want to argue GW in this forum, let's stick to real science. If you have to go to right wing think tanks or religious nuthead sites for evidence, it probably doesn't belong here.



I quoted papers of:

Richard S. Lindzen, Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology, Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 216 scientific publications, recipient of the AMS's Meisinger, and Charney Awards, and AGU's Macelwane Medal, corresponding member of the NAS Committee on Human Rights, a member of the NRC Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, and a Fellow of the AAAS1, consultant to the Global Modeling and Simulation Group at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, and a Distinguished Visiting Scientist at California Institute of Technology's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. (Ph.D., '64, S.M., '61, A.B., '60, Harvard University)

and Zbignew Jaworowski, Professor at the Central Laboratory for Radiological Protection (CLOR) in Warsaw, Poland, a governmental institution, involved in environmental studies. Author of 280 scientific papers, among them about 20 on climatic problems, representative of Poland in the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR), and in 1980 – 1982 the chairman of this Committee.

Both have nothing to do with Cato institute and its reputation.

I do not take in consideration politically and ideologically motivated garbage, which, as you rightfully noticed, is plentiful.

You probably would find interesting 2004 testimony of Prof. Jaworowski for US Senate committee concerning pre-historic levels of atmospheric CO2:

Andy Chapman

I like the sound of a fleet average CO2 and a max CO2 limit. Why stop at these two though?
Why not have caps for each segment too?
My car emits 165 g/km and is a mid size car. (It is a diesel though.) Smaller cars could be limited to 150g/km, larger cars the 210 g/km as said elsewhere.
I would be trying to avoid extreme 'flagship' car in each segment. Killjoy perhaps but there are more important things in life...



Is Lindzen right? I hope so, but I doubt it. I'm not an expert climate scientist.

What I do know is that his views are disagreed upon by nearly all other recognized atmospheric scientists. As such, he's parlayed his position in the field to be the premiere author for the GW-is-a-myth campaign, and as a result gets great funding from the carbon folks, which helps him crank out even more papers.

I'm not saying he's a hack -- but I am saying that if you're using 216 publications to support his work, I'm going to use the 10,000s of publications that support the ideas that global warming is real, and induced significantly by the activities of mankind. Lindzen is smart. I suspect that the rest of the field is collectively smarter.


Little thought experiment....

VW produces vehicle, it runs on straight vegetable oil (oh, but don't worry they say, it can also run on diesel if you get caught short).

VW therefore claims 10 grammes of CO2 per km.

Have they got past the letter of the law?



It is not one or two scientists against 100. It is more like two against three proportion:


I’ve spent hundreds of hours researching the issue before I allowed myself to post any related comments on this site.

Yet somehow you end up flogging the ideas of Dr. Lindzen, the old standby of all Deniers.

Simon P.S. Ting

The only way to bring the CO2 down ,is to use a bio-catalyst added to the hydrocarbon fuel(petrol,diesel,fuel oil). the bio-catalyst acts on the fuel by cutting the hydrocarbon chains of the fuel into smaller chains, but does not change the molecular structure of the fuel. this thus results in more effiecent combustion of the engine,resulting in less emission of Nox,Sox,Co2. test have also shown reduction in consumption (15%) of fuel.This will definetly help to meet the Euro IV,V standard. This bio-catalyst is being produced in Malaysia,from sustainable palm oil trees. This is not bio-diesel!. We are all in this together, so discard the pride!. Try it out.

Z. Y. Ammari

I need to know what is the max. allowed Co2 emissions in Greece, please inform me. And what is the Euro version is presently applied in Greece.

Also, what are the safety and other requirements (Criteria)required, in case of importing a vehicle to Greece from the Middle East.

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