Car pollution scandal
Latest case shows systemic failure in regulation must be urgently addressed
Commenting on the latest allegations in Germany that a new car manufacturer, Opel, may have also falsified pollutant emissions data, according to research by a Swiss institute (1), Greens/EFA co-president Rebecca Harms said:
"This latest scandal underlines that this is a sector-wide problem and not just limited to Volkswagen. There is a systemic failure in the regulation of the car industry and this is an EU-wide issue but, so far, there has been no proper EU response. We cannot simply accept that EU rules aimed at protecting public health and the environment are simply ignored.
"For weeks, we have been calling on the European Commission to undertake a comprehensive investigation of the allegations of emissions data falsification by car manufacturers and the role of the responsible national authorities, and ensure any transgressions are properly sanctioned. We have also called for a European Parliament inquiry committee. For years, we have been urging the Commission to close the loopholes under EU car emissions rules, which enable car makers to produce and market cars that emit pollutants at a significantly higher level than the limits set under EU law. It is now time for the Commission to stop kowtowing to the automobile lobby and its partners in certain EU governments."
Commenting on the ongoing process on revising the current test cycle system for measuring car pollutant emissions, which could be concluded as early as next week, Green environment spokesperson and vice-president Bas Eickhout added:
"It is cynical and incomprehensible that EU governments are actively working to totally undermine proposals to create a testing procedure for measuring car pollutant emissions based on actual real driving conditions. It is exactly the opposite of how a responsible regulator should respond to these scandals.
"We know that the current lab test procedure for measuring pollutant emissions means many cars are approved for sale on the market despite having pollutant emissions many times above the legal limits in real world driving conditions. This badly needs to change. However, a proposal from the EU Commission for a real driving emissions test 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 50-60%. What is worse is that many EU governments are seeking increase this conformity factor and allow cars to exceed the pollution limits permanently. 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. The alternative would be a failure for Europe's citizens."
(1) German NGO Deutsche Umwelthilfe released the findings http://www.duh.de/pressemitteilung.html?&tx_ttnews[tt_news]=3652