German chancellor Angela Merkel has pledged to oppose a strict EU limit on cars’ CO2 emissions, in defiance of draft commission plans.
Speaking at an industry conference, Merkel argued that different models of cars should face different caps rather than see an overall limit of 120g/km as expected in the commission’s draft proposal.
"The German government will work with all its strength and energy for there to be a reduction by sector," she told an industry conference.
"We will prevent there being a general reduction."
Her words are a blow to EU environment commissioner Stavros Dimas, who has been pushing for a limit of 120g/km by 2012.
The proposal has already been delayed following disagreement within the commission – particularly from industry commissioner Günter Verheugen, who has also spoken out in favour of carmakers.
Germany’s car industry, which specializes in high-end, luxury cars which tend to emit more CO2, has sharply criticised the EU’s draft proposal.
Merkel’s words, and the fierce lobbying by the car industry, are leading to a climbdown for Dimas, who is now expected to call for a less stringent target of 130g/km.
In a separate move, the commission is set to table ambitious new legislation on 31 January to force oil companies to produce greener fuels – requiring petrol to comprise at least 5 per cent ethanol from 2011.
The move is seen by commentators as a signal that some of the commission’s pressure on carbon emissions is shifting away from car makers.
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