The European Parliament today adopted a resolution setting out its main demands in response to the scandal regarding car pollutant emissions from Volkswagen and other car manufacturers. Commenting after the vote, Greens/EFA co-president Rebecca Harms said:
"The European Parliament has today called for the EU to step up its response to the car pollution scandal. The resolution adopted today makes clear that the Commission needs to properly investigate the scandal and also delivers clear support for real driving emissions tests with no exemptions. Unfortunately, an otherwise good resolution was undermined by the uncritical approach to dirty, diesel technology, following the adoption of an EPP amendment. We need to start moving towards a transport future that is not based on polluting and climate-damaging cars and stop allowing automobile lobby to dictate the playbook.
"The EU Commission must stop sitting on its hands. It needs to undertake a comprehensive investigation of the allegations of tweaked pollution control devices by car manufacturers and the role of national authorities, and ensure any transgressions are properly sanctioned. With the Commission continuing to drag its heels, support for a parliamentary inquiry is growing. After years of ignoring the issue, the Commission and EU governments must now start enforcing the legal pollution limits set in 2007 and ensure a test procedure that stops car makers producing and marketing cars that emit pollutants at a significantly higher level than the limits set under EU law. We cannot accept that EU rules aimed at protecting public health and the environment are simply ignored."
Green environment spokesperson and vice-president Bas Eickhout added:
"We already know the current lab test procedure for measuring pollutant emissions means cars are approved for the market despite polluting many times above the legal limits in real world driving conditions. This is unacceptable. Yet, the Commission and EU governments are cynically working to prolong the problem.
"Tomorrow, EU governments will consider a proposal from the EU Commission for what it describes as a real driving emissions test but it is nothing of the sort. It includes exemptions which would mean cars could continue to be approved for the market even if they do not comply with the EU's pollutant limits. Under a so-called 'conformity factor', manufacturers would be allowed to market cars that exceed the limits by 60% initially and 20% permanently. What is worse is that many EU governments are seeking to further weaken this. This is an outrage. With the comitology process for agreeing the rules close to conclusion, we strongly urge the Commission and EU governments to approve a test cycle that is based on real driving emissions, with no exemptions. Parliament has called for this today. We know that it is technologically possible, as some car manufacturers are already meeting the EU norms, as well as far stricter US norms. There can be no more excuses. The alternative would be a failure for Europe's citizens and public health."