Car emissions scandal
Widening of car emissions scandal throws spotlight on failures of regulators
Commenting on the latest revelation by car manufacturer Volkswagen that many of its cars on the market are also not in line with EU norms on CO2 emissions, in addition to the ongoing scandal relating to air pollutant emissions, Greens/EFA co-president Rebecca Harms said:
"This latest revelation underlines that we are so far scratching at the tip of iceberg. We now know what many long suspected: there is a systemic problem with the car industry and its regulation. Disturbingly, the response of the European Commission and national authorities has been to try and fudge EU law at the same time as US regulators are clamping down the sector. This protectionist approach is totally wrongheaded. We cannot accept that EU rules aimed at protecting public health and the environment are simply ignored.
"The EU Commission must undertake a comprehensive investigation of the various allegations of how car makers are avoiding EU rules on pollutant and CO2 emissions and the role of national authorities, and ensure any transgressions are properly sanctioned. With the Commission continuing to drag its heels, we need to move ahead with a fully-fledged inquiry in the European Parliament. We must ensure that EU health and environment laws are fully implemented and stop letting the auto-lobby dictate the terms of its own regulation. This ultimately implies changing how the sector is regulated and laws are enforced."
Green environment spokesperson and vice-president Bas Eickhout added:
"Last week's scandalous decision by EU governments to allow car manufacturers produce and market cars that exceed EU legal limits on pollutants was an utterly cynical move. We know that there are no technical barriers to meeting these limits, as many car makers do and the US has stricter limits, just as we know there are no technical barriers to meeting the EU's weak CO2 emissions standards. The response to this scandal cannot be to weaken existing rules, so that dirty car makers that have made no effort are rewarded.
"We will be pushing the European Parliament to reject last week's agreement and believe this is essential for the credibility of the EU's response to this scandal. We need to be ensuring car makers respect democratically-decided laws. This means introducing a real driving emissions test, with no exemptions, which ensures all cars approved for the market comply with the EU's pollutant limits. Anything else would be a failure for the EU."