* Proposal relates to "supercredits" for low-emission cars
* Wants to be able to save supercredits from before 2020
* Proposal could allow continued manufacture of big cars
By Barbara Lewis
BRUSSELS, June 7 Germany has put forward a fresh
proposal on regulating carbon dioxide limits for cars sold in
the European Union, which campaigners say is a last-ditch
attempt to dilute a new emissions law.
Germany has been pushing for months for greater flexibility
in implementing an emissions goal of 95 grams of carbon dioxide
per kilometre (g/km) as an average across new EU vehicles from
But votes in the European Parliament so far have backed a
fairly robust version of the European Commission's original
Ireland, holder of the rotating EU presidency, is hoping for
agreement between member governments, the European Parliament
and the Commission by the end of this month.
The loopholes that Germany wants to maximise, known as
supercredits, would allow its premium carmakers such as Daimler
and BMW to keep producing powerful,
relatively high emission cars - provided they also make very
low-emission vehicles, such as electric cars.
The new German proposal, seen by Reuters, argues that being
able to save supercredits from before 2020 so they can be used
later is the only way to ensure no time is lost in getting
Europe on the path to highly efficient vehicles.
Environmental campaigners disagree and say Germany is
pushing for a further weakening of the 95 g/km target. Already
they say the effect of the version backed by the European
Parliament would increase the target to 97.5 grams, slightly
easier than the Commission's plan.
"This new proposal for banking of supercredits is the same
accountancy trick that has already been rejected by the European
Parliament and most countries," said Greg Archer, from
campaigning group Transport & Environment. "It is a desperate
attempt by Germany to protect the interests of premium
The executive European Commission and many EU member states
say the number of supercredits should be strictly limited or
would risk diluting the effectiveness of the law.
Unlimited supercredits could allow the manufacture of
electric cars for which there is little or no demand, while
allowing just as many polluting vehicles as before on to the
roads, campaigners say.
The European car industry association ACEA says supercredits
are necessary and are used elsewhere in the world to encourage
German industry representatives take a similar line.
"From our point of view, supercredits do not weaken the 95
gram target. In fact, they are rather a free seed-funding for
the community or state in order to help pave the way for new
technologies," Daimler spokeswoman Sandra Hahn said in an email.