Strasbourg - European Parliament, France — As Nicolas Sarkozy delivered his first address as President of the European Council to the European Parliament Greenpeace activists held up signs inside the hemicycle urging him to reverse the climate bashing Sarkozy-Merkel Car Deal. Outside the Parliament activists also displayed banners reading "Merkel and Sarkozy, Driving Climate Change".
Greenpeace activists hold up signs outside the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, urging Nicolas Sarkozy to reverse the Sarkozy-Merkel car deal. The proposed Franco-German deal would effectively postpone and weaken the long-standing aim of limiting average emissions from cars to 120g CO2/km by another three years.
In his speech, Sarkozy once again made climate legislation a priority for his Presidency, but at the same time the French President is undermining his climate ambition by signing up to a deal with Merkel to weaken car emissions legislation.
"The 'Merkozy deal' on car emissions is bad news for the climate. Effective legislation on CO2 standards could go a long way in curbing the fast rise in car emissions which continues to undermine the EU's climate efforts," said Franziska Achterberg, Greenpeace EU transport campaigner. "If France starts its presidency by caving in to the German car lobby, what will be the next loopholes worked into the EU's climate legislation?"
The proposed Franco-German deal would effectively postpone the long-standing aim of limiting average emissions from cars to 120g CO2/km by another three years. Despite claims to the contrary, the agreement means that in 2012, carbon dioxide emissions from new cars would be higher than 140g CO2/km. And in 2015 the average new car sold in Europe could still emit up to 138g CO2/km without incurring fines.
The transport sector has increased its emissions by around 26% since 1990, with levels continuing to rise. The EU is at present negotiating CO2 standards for cars with the aim of bringing emissions down to120g CO2/km in 2012, after the industry failed to deliver on a long-standing voluntary commitment.
"Sarkozy and Merkel need to live up to their promises to defend the climate and stop pandering to an industry that refuses to take their responsibilities seriously. There is still time for the European Parliament to ensure the car industry is brought into line. We need laws enforcing a fleet average for new cars of 120g CO2/km by 2012 and 80g CO2/km by 2020," said Melanie Francis, Greenpeace International transport campaigner.
* For a full briefing on the proposal, click here
Melanie Francis, Greenpeace International transport campaigner
Mobile phone:+31 (0)653 81 91 21
 In their joint statement at the Ninth Franco-German Council of Ministers in Straubing (Germany) on 9 June 2008, Sarkozy and Merkel said: "Our both countries [sic] support the target 120/130g/km [sic] in 2012 as set by the proposal of the Commission." The Merkozy deal allows emissions of 136-138g, with a further 10g knocked off by "complementary measures" and another 6-8g by "eco-innovations", neither of which are accounted for under EU measures.
 Greenhouse gas emission trends and projections in Europe 2007. Tracking progress towards Kyoto targets. EEA, 2007: http://reports.eea.europa.eu/eea_report_2007_5/en
 Despite a voluntary commitment (agreed in 1998) to reduce CO2 emissions from new cars to 140g/km by 2008, European car manufacturers only reached an average of 160g/km in 2006.