Car efficiency soap opera

German manoeuvring to dilute June trilogue deal continues

Press release - October 14, 2013
Brussels – At a meeting of EU environment ministers in Luxembourg today, Germany again managed to buy more time in order to dilute new EU legislation on how carmakers should limit CO2 emissions from new cars. Ministers tasked the Lithuanian EU Presidency and the Commission to explore options to further weaken the deal reached with the European Parliament in June. Environment ministers also discussed their joint EU position for the COP19 climate talks that will take place in Warsaw next month.


The German government had blocked in June a deal on car carbon dioxide emissions agreed between EU countries, the European Parliament and the Commission [1]. In the meantime, Germany has introduced a new proposal to postpone until 2024 a target of 95g CO2 per km for passenger cars, which had previously been agreed upon for 2020.

Greenpeace EU transport policy director Franziska Achterberg said: “The German government has managed to rally enough support to scupper the deal reached this summer but should realise, more than three months on, that it cannot get what it wants – a license to pollute for its high-end manufacturers. The European Parliament should stand firm and reject Germany’s demands, which only serve to damage the climate, increase costs for consumers and stifle technological innovation. It should insist that emission reductions by 2025 be included in the legislation.”

Greenpeace maintains that further weakening of the legislation will impact on emission reductions, business certainty for car manufacturers and their suppliers, and leave European motorists footing the bill [2]. Continued improvements in car efficiency would not only reduce emissions and lower fuel bills, but could also generate hundreds of thousands of new jobs in the EU, according to a recent study by Cambridge Econometrics and others [3].

Regarding the EU’s negotiating position for COP19, Greenpeace warned that the EU will only have a credible international role when it agrees on its own adequate climate and energy targets for 2030, and increases its climate ambition for 2020. Greenpeace is calling on the EU to adopt a 2030 climate target of least 55% domestic greenhouse gas emission reductions,  a renewable energy target of 45%, and a binding energy savings target of 40%, and is concerned that the 2030 targets currently under preparation by the European Commission are inadequate [4].



[1] Greenpeace, ‘EU legislators give in to German bullying on car efficiency standards’, 24 June 2013,

[2] European Association of Automotive Suppliers, ‘CO2 vehicles emissions regulation for 2020: time to decide’, Federation Internationale de l'Automobile, ‘FIA urges Ministers to take action and approve CO2 emission targets for cars’.

[3] Cambridge Econometrics, ‘Fuelling Europe’s Future: How auto innovation leads to EU jobs’

[4] Reuters, ‘Europe weighing 40 percent 2030 carbon-cutting goal: EU sources’,


For cars deal: Franziska Achterberg - Greenpeace EU transport policy director: +32 (0)498 362 403,

For COP19 enquiries: Joris den Blanken - Greenpeace EU climate policy director: +32 (0) 476 961 375,

Ed Davitt - Greenpeace media officer: +32 (0)476 988 584,


For breaking news and comment on EU affairs:

Greenpeace is an independent global campaigning organisation that acts to change attitudes and behaviour, to protect and conserve the environment and to promote peace. Greenpeace does not accept donations from governments, the EU, businesses or political parties.