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Carmakers slam EU CO2 emission compromise

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17:11 CET+01:00
The German automobile federation VDA slammed on Tuesday an EU compromise on rules to cut CO2 emissions from new cars, saying it ignored the sector's current crisis.

"Globally, the project does not take enough account of the automobile industry's difficult situation," a VDA president Matthias Wissmann said. "Those who are following the evolution of global markets cannot act as though nothing has happened."

Members of the European Parliament, with representatives of the EU countries and the European Commision, agreed in Brussels on Monday evening to a graduated reduction of CO2 emissions in new cars up to 2015. The EU Commission originally wanted to limit emissions to 120 grams per kilometre starting in 2012, tightening restrictions from the current 160 grams.

According to the compromise, only 65 percent of new cars will need to meet this requirement, now until 2012. The requirement will be extended to 100 percent of new cars in 2015, and in 2020 CO2 emissions should decrease to 95 grams per kilometre.

“The negotiated compromise corresponds nearly one-to-one with the position of the European auto industry,” said Viviane Raddatz of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). German Chancellor Angela “Merkel is now losing her reputation as climate chancellor in decisive questions,” she added.

The German League for the Environment and Nature Conservation (BUND) made similar objections. “Germany's credibility in the realm of climate protection” is “seriously damaged”, BUND leader Hubert Weiger said.

But Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel defended the compromise. He told the Bayerischer Rundfunk (Bavarian Broadcasting) that it is not really dramatic for the world climate, whether the auto industry reaches the CO2 goal by 2012 or in steps by 2015. Gabriel said that it is important to give the sector a legally binding framework, as the former voluntary agreements have not been upheld by the European auto industry.

Economy Minister Michael Glos aligned himself with this position, saying that the agreement gives the auto industry planning security.

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