In Parliament >> Crying "wolf"

17th March 2011

Related Topics

Related tags

  • Transport ,
  • Mitigation



Chris Davies, Liberal Democrat environment spokesperson in the European Parliament, argues that targets for reducing CO2 emissions from vehicles could be tougher.

MEPs and ministers have recently agreed a target for reducing CO2 emissions from light commercial vehicles. Although the outcome was a modest victory for industry lobbyists, “White van man” has no reason to be pleased. Truly tough targets for manufacturers were fended off, but the businesses that use their vehicles will end up paying more than they need.

Average emissions from new vans must not exceed 147gCO2/km (g/km) by 2016. To be fair, this will represent an improvement on current standards by about 28%, and it may be the strictest requirement in the world, but it’s some way removed from the European Commission’s original proposal for a target of 135g/km.

Manufacturers succeeded in scaling back the ambitions by claiming that vehicle purchase prices would increase. That’s a pity; we have been here before and should have known better. EU legislation to reduce CO2 emissions from new cars was thrashed out in 2008. The commission proposed a target of 120g/km by 2012 but met with a blizzard of lobbying resistance. German car manufacturers claimed that it would put 65,000 jobs at risk and £2,500 on the price of a car. The compromise eventually agreed by lawmakers set a weaker target over a longer time scale, 130g/km by 2015.

Yet since regulation was proposed a transformation has taken place. Emissions from new cars have fallen annually at the fastest rate ever. Toyota is on target to beat the EU target this year; Peugeot, Citroen and Fiat are close behind. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders has admitted that it “overestimated” the difficulty in cutting admissions. They had cried “wolf” when there was no wolf.

Targets for 2020 are due to be proposed in two years’ time. Judging from the record so far, the commission can afford to raise its ambitions.


Subscribe to IEMA's newsletters to receive timely articles, expert opinions, event announcements, and much more, directly in your inbox.

Transform articles

How much is too much?

While there is no silver bullet for tackling climate change and social injustice, there is one controversial solution: the abolition of the super-rich. Chris Seekings explains more

4th April 2024

Read more

One of the world’s most influential management thinkers, Andrew Winston sees many reasons for hope as pessimism looms large in sustainability. Huw Morris reports

4th April 2024

Read more

Alex Veitch from the British Chambers of Commerce and IEMA’s Ben Goodwin discuss with Chris Seekings how to unlock the potential of UK businesses

4th April 2024

Read more

Regulatory gaps between the EU and UK are beginning to appear, warns Neil Howe in this edition’s environmental legislation round-up

4th April 2024

Read more

Five of the latest books on the environment and sustainability

3rd April 2024

Read more

Ben Goodwin reflects on policy, practice and advocacy over the past year

2nd April 2024

Read more

In 2020, IEMA and the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) jointly wrote and published A User Guide to Climate-Related Financial Disclosures. This has now been updated to include three key developments in the field.

2nd April 2024

Read more

Hello and welcome to another edition of Transform. I hope that you’ve had a good and productive few months so far.

28th March 2024

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert

IEMA Cookie Notice

Clicking the ‘Accept all’ button means you are accepting analytics and third-party cookies. Our website uses necessary cookies which are required in order to make our website work. In addition to these, we use analytics and third-party cookies to optimise site functionality and give you the best possible experience. To control which cookies are set, click ‘Settings’. To learn more about cookies, how we use them on our website and how to change your cookie settings please view our cookie policy.

Manage cookie settings

Our use of cookies

You can learn more detailed information in our cookie policy.

Some cookies are essential, but non-essential cookies help us to improve the experience on our site by providing insights into how the site is being used. To maintain privacy management, this relies on cookie identifiers. Resetting or deleting your browser cookies will reset these preferences.

Essential cookies

These are cookies that are required for the operation of our website. They include, for example, cookies that enable you to log into secure areas of our website.

Analytics cookies

These cookies allow us to recognise and count the number of visitors to our website and to see how visitors move around our website when they are using it. This helps us to improve the way our website works.

Advertising cookies

These cookies allow us to tailor advertising to you based on your interests. If you do not accept these cookies, you will still see adverts, but these will be more generic.

Save and close