July 24, 2005

Carmakers set to miss EU emissions goal – paper

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - European carmakers are unlikely to
meet their voluntary target for reducing emissions of carbon
dioxide, an industry newspaper reported on Saturday, raising
the prospect that lawmakers will force them to act.

"They will (miss) their target by a little bit," Automotive
News quoted an unidentified European Union source as saying.
"It's pretty common knowledge within the Commission, but it's
politically incorrect to say it."

Eager to head off compulsory steps, the European auto
industry promised in 1999 to cut emissions of carbon dioxide
(CO2) -- the greenhouse gas linked to global warming -- to 140
grams per car per km driven by 2008 and to 120 g/km by 2012,
versus 185 g/km in 1995.

Their Japanese and Korean counterparts pledged to reach the
same level in 2009.

But the paper quoted the EU source as predicting European
carmakers' CO2 emissions would be in the range of 145 g/km to
148 g/km in 2008.

A report by the European Commission, the EU's executive,
last month said CO2 emissions from cars fell by 11.8 percent
between 1995 and 2003 in the bloc's 15 old member states -- not
enough to meet voluntary targets.

"Major additional efforts will be required in the coming
years in order to deliver the target to which the industry has
committed itself," the Commission said at the time.

South Korean car producers were lagging behind companies
from Europe and Japan in reducing car emissions, it said.

Cutting pollution from cars is part of the EU's drive to
meet its commitments to combat global warming under the Kyoto
treaty on climate change.

Although emissions from new models have decreased, carbon
dioxide levels from road transport have risen by 22 percent
since 1990 because more people are driving more cars. Passenger
vehicles are responsible for half of all emissions.

Carmakers have made progress so far by introducing more
fuel-efficient engines and fostering demand for diesel motors,
which consume less fuel than petrol engines.

But progress has slowed as consumers tend increasingly to
buy more powerful cars and regulations require more safety
equipment that adds weight to vehicles.