The European Union’s French presidency proposed watering-down plans to curb greenhouse gas emissions from cars by phasing in limits up to 2015, with lower fines for narrowly missing the target. The plan was deemed by many inside the auto industry as too strict and unrealistic. The EU’s executive Commission had originally proposed cutting CO2 from cars by 18 percent to 130 grams per kilometer by 2012. This was all part of an ambitious plan to lead the world in fighting climate change, with stiff fines for non-compliance as the major penalty.
The plan states another 10 grams per kilometer savings would have to be achieved through improved tires, gears and air-conditioning systems. Most auto making nations, led by Germany, which specializes in powerful, heavy luxury vehicles such as Mercedes and BMW, which emit the most greenhouse gases, have, of course, pressed for a softening of the commission’s plan. They argue that this will put jobs and export earnings at risk, even though doing nothing about the situation puts us all at risk. It’s this kind of selfish mentality that needs to be abolished if we are ever going to successfully implement the kind of legislation that will usher in the new age of transportation.