Greenpeace activists displayed banners depicting car manufacturers as the wooden puppet Pinocchio.
To highlight how many of these green claims are just PR we
unfurled a banner of Pinocchio in front of the European car show in
Brussels. "Just as Pinocchio couldn't be a real boy till he stopped
telling lies, the car makers will never be green until they stop
showing off a green image at car shows while filling the roads with
ever heavier and more powerful gas guzzlers," said Helen Perivier,
Greenpeace International campaigner.
Desperate to protect their market for heavier and more powerful
cars, manufacturers last month succeeded in weakening an European
Union (EU) proposal to set mandatory carbon dioxide emissions
standards for their fleets sold in Europe and push for further
What the car industry appears to fear most is exactly what we
need to tackle cars contribution to global warming - tough, legally
Back in 1996, when first threatened by European fuel efficiency
regulations, manufacturers promised they could make their cars more
efficient themselves. The much abused "please no rules, we promise
to be good" approach that is perfect for companies looking to
continue business as usual but almost always useless for protecting
Sure enough, after the eight years car manufacturers had to
comply with previous voluntary targets the majority had failed
miserably to meet them. Then the EU Commission proposed to get
tough again in 2006 with new strict legally binding rules.
Rather then admit that tough rules were needed for the good of
the planet the car industry ramped up it formidable, multi-million
dollar lobby machine. European car manufactures (supported by US
car firms, like General Motors and Ford) have lobbied successfully
to weaken the proposed regulations.
Profits over Planet
The car industry is desperate to protect one of its most
profitable sectors - big heavy cars, often aimed at the top end of
the market. So far they have succeeded in weakening the EU proposal
to set mandatory carbon dioxide emissions standards for their
fleets sold in Europe and push for further concessions.
Despite the fact that technologies exist to make cars more
efficient, the car makers continue to put profit well ahead their
responsibility to confront climate change when it really
If the EU rules are to have any teeth to effectively control
carbon dioxide emissions they must be strengthened to including a
120g CO2/km standard as a fleet average for 2012; and a longer-term
target of 80g CO2/km by 2020; base emission standards on a car's
size and not its weight; and set effective penalties to ensure car
manufacturers respect the new standards.
If the final law doesn't have teeth, no amount of green
marketing will be able to hide that fact that it was car makers who
drove a massively heavy and expensive wrecking ball through the
EU's good intentions.
Please write to the Germany's Chancellor, Angela Merkel, today asking her to support strong emissions standards.
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