Cleaner cars vote postponed as Germany secures pit stop for gas guzzlers

Posted by Hugh Mouser — 27 June 2013 at 6:13pm - Comments
Car exhaust fumes
All rights reserved. Credit: Gowan / Greenpeace
Clean car vote postponed? We're fuming

It looks like Angela Merkel's call to David Cameron last night has paid off, and the key vote on cleaner cars has been postponed.

<--break->Germany had already widened ‘super credit’ loopholes to weaken the law. But this new delay means Merkel can mount another assault on the draft CO2 standards we've fought for - and keep polluting cars on the roads for longer.

And yet we all know carmakers are capable of innovating to meet these targets - VW has shown that. So we’ve got to keep fighting.

Stronger regulations could make new cars 33% more fuel efficient by 2020, cut CO2 and our need for oil. 

Yesterday afternoon Angela Merkel called the European Council’s Irish presidency, desperately trying to stop the law being voted on today by cynically referencing a story about German consumers annoyed by Anglo Irish Bank’s bailout demands. Merkel knew that if she could postpone the vote, it would give her more time to try to weaken it.

Merkel is seeking re-election in September, and BMW and Daimler - big funders of Merkel’s next election campaign - want to keep selling gas guzzlers for as long as possible.

Then this morning, the presidency asked countries if they opposed Germany's request to drop the law from today's agenda. Despite past opposition to German attempts to weaken the law, only Denmark and Italy stood against the request. Some countries apparently wanted more time to study the impacts of the regulations. Even our government was in disarray as Cameron over-ruled the Department of Transport.

Why such a panic? Because together we got Europe's biggest carmaker, German powerhouse Volkswagen, to agree they would meet the strong targets we wanted. BMW and Daimler must have been scared by that, and by how VW has been forced to prove the car industry can innovate and make serious CO2 emissions cuts.

We sent an array of tweets at David Cameron and other governments to demand the truth about their support for polluting cars. And then we heard the news:

So what now? On Monday Lithuania will take over the presidency of the European Council. It’s possible  Germany may want to postpone any decision on these laws until after national elections in September.

One thing’s for sure - we’re not done yet. So long as the future of clean transport is hanging in the balance - we’ll be ready to make sure we get clean cars. Watch this space - and if you haven’t joined the campaign already, you can do so at

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