VW diesel scandal and climate change: can increased independent car checks lead to cleaner mobility?

One Planet Summit, Paris
Date: 12/12/2017. © European Union , 2017 Source: EC – Audiovisual Service Photo: Mauro Bottaro

It was last Thursday when the European Parliament together with the Council and the Commission agreed to enhance the car testing system by providing extra checks to the cars that are or will be placed in the market based on the proposal of the European Commission made on January 2016. Despite the fact that this agreement came after a long time and lengthy negotiations, it finally opens the way for cleaner mobility through a more independent surveillance system.

VW chief executive Matthias Müller mentioned this month that the German government has to stop financing people for buying diesel cars. It seems that Mr Muller wants to change the image of the car manufacturer which was found to cheat back in 2015, violating the Clean Air Act. However, it could be hard for people to believe that VW can be more climate-friendly promoting relevant policies.

VW ex-executive’s punishment

One day before the agreement, the U.S. court sentenced a former VW executive to seven years in prison and a 400.000 dollars fine despite the attempts of his attorney to convince the court to deliver a milder punishment. Oliver Schmidt who was in charge of the firm’s environmental premises in Michigan accepted the accusations of having helped the company evade clean-air laws.

More checks, less pollution

The political agreement of European Commission’s proposal on harshening the rules for safer and cleaner vehicles reinforces EU’s support on the industry. Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska, responsible for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs stated that the system needs tougher rules in order to cover gaps and prevent similar to the VW diesel scandals. More specifically, Elżbieta Bieńkowska said: “Dieselgate has revealed the weaknesses of our regulatory and market surveillance system. We know that some car manufacturers were cheating and many others were exploiting loopholes. To put an end to this, we are overhauling the whole system. After almost two years of negotiations, I welcome that the key elements of our proposal have been upheld, including real EU oversight and enforcement powers. In the future, the Commission will be able to carry out checks on cars, trigger EU-wide recalls, and impose fines of up to €30,000 per car when the law is broken.”

Apart for the agreement, which promotes a greener approach to the car industry ensuring that safety, environmental and production requirements are respected, the Commission announced yesterday at the One Planet Summit in Paris that it will fund 9 billion euros for action on climate change. Thus, it seems that the EU not only targets on low and zero emissions vehicles but also attempts to achieve each and every goal of the Paris agreement.

Can the EU legislation stop VW scandals?

The political agreement signals a new era in the car industry and EU market surveillance system. Before the final result, the EU countries supported that one in every 200.000 new vehicles had to be tested on their emissions while MEPs asked for 20% of all cars to be checked. But the outcome is that one in every 40.000 new vehicles will face extra controls on emissions.

Monique Goyens, BEUC Director-General, mentioned that: “We are content that the EU has set minimum targets for checking cars when they are in use, especially considering national inaction in this area. More European oversight of national authorities should also help to eliminate conflicts of interest that might exist in the EU’s Member States. But the EU can still do more for consumers. A void is the lack of a test for real-world CO2 emissions. This is much-needed as the gap between laboratory and real-world simulations of CO2 emissions stands at over 40%. Such a situation cannot be allowed to continue, which is why we urge policy-makers to resolve it immediately.”

Furthermore, the Economy minster of Estonia Kadri Simon underlined on the issue: “a balanced deal which delivers the necessary reforms. This new framework will help restore the credibility of the car sector. It will set up a transparent system with proper supervision, improve coordination at different levels and harmonise the application of EU rules”.

Is VW changing position?

The VW chief executive mentioned in December that German government needs to think of cutting down funding related to purchasing of diesel cars in order to promote a more climate-friendly attitude and reduce emissions. More specifically, Matthias Müller said: “I’m convinced that we need to question the sense and purpose of these diesel subsidies.  If the transition to environmentally friendly electric cars is to succeed, the diesel internal combustion engine cannot be subsidized like before. The money could be more meaningfully invested in the promotion of environmentally friendly drive technologies.”

However, the German Transport Ministry has no intention to change its taxation policy on diesel fuel as government spokesman Steffen Seibert said.

The above statement of Matthias Müller came a few days after VW approved a 40 billion euros investment in electric vehicles, autonomous driving and electric mobility technology. The chief executive plans to transform Volkswagen into the top player in electric mobility by 2025. How come the giant car manufacturer changed position so suddenly? Aren’t diesel cars the future? According to France, UK and the Netherlands it may be the case as everyone is planning to forbid the sale of diesel cars between 2030 and 2040.

Need for climate protection

It seems that everybody, except for the U.S. government which has recently stated to drop out of the Paris agreement, is in favor of legislating policies and adopting measures that could reduce gas emissions and lead to a cleaner environment.

All in all, agreements such as the one made last week on tightening rules for safer and cleaner cars together with more sustainaible climate finance are actions which could effectively tackle climate change.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

WEF Davos 2016 LIVE: “You just don’t know if the oil price will be 20$ or 100$ in the next 2-3 years!” top Harvard economist Kenneth Rogoff underscores from Davos

Trump systematically upsets global order and trade: Where does this end?

Privacy is a human right, we need a GDPR for the world: Microsoft CEO

UN mobilizes in Rohingya camps to support babies born of rape; young mothers face stigma

European Citizens’ Initiative: A game of much publicity and one big lie

Why are wildfires getting worse?

Is the energy industry meeting its sustainability goals?

A day in the life of a refugee: the wait

Central Asia bloc has important role in ‘peace, stability and prosperity’ beyond region, says Deputy UN chief

UN postal agency ‘regrets’ US withdrawal

United States: UN human rights office welcomes California moratorium on death penalty

COP21 Breaking News_03 December: Transport Industry Drive for Improved Energy Efficiency and Electro-Mobility to Stem High Growth of Emissions

Vaccines: from miracle to possible danger

EU Commission: Germany can make Eurozone grow again just by helping itself

Pharmaceuticals: Commission refines intellectual property rules

Women must have an equal share in politics, say MEPs and national MPs

European markets itchy with short-term disturbances

Tools of asset development: Renewable Energy Projects case

Three ways Finland leads the world – and education isn’t one of them

The European giant tourism sector in constant growth

Global economy to see ‘steady’ growth of three per cent in 2019 despite risks, says UN

Eurogroup asked to reduce public debts of its member states

Italian elections: a long political limbo is ahead

Latin America’s cities are ready to take off. But their infrastructure is failing them

EU regional differences betray an unjust arrangement

Trade war or not New York bankers will have it their way

Women-Friendly Spaces for Rohingya refugees: A place for protection and care

A Young entrepreneur cries out: “start in Europe, stay in Europe”

The ‘abuse of food relief in Yemen’ must end now

Council’s position on Visa Directive a step back for young people’s mobility

Gaza: deadly violence continues to escalate, top UN officials work to restore calm

UN chief condemns attack targeting international forces in northern Mali

Creating shared value: an opportunity and challenge for entrepreneurship

‘Proving our worth through action’: 5 things Guterres wants the UN to focus on in 2019

Congrats to the #FutureofMalta: a new age of voting

Encouraging progress made in 2018, in ‘zero tolerance’ effort to end sexual exploitation and abuse across UN

Are you breathing plastic air at home? Here’s how microplastics are polluting our lungs

Europe’s top court hears Intel and sends € 1.06 bn antitrust fine to review

11 lessons the history of business can teach us about its future

This surgeon runs a makeshift hospital for over 200,000 people

Berlin wants to break South’s politico-economic standing

ECB: Reaching the limits of its mandate to revive the Eurozone economy

Galileo funding: A ‘small’ difference of €700 million

Commission launches debate on a gradual transition to more efficient and democratic decision-making in EU tax policy

Fresh airstrikes kill dozens in conflict-ravaged Syria

This new way of understanding disease is changing medicine

Why today’s leaders need to know about the power of narratives

Vaccinations and the movement of anti-vaccers

Scientists are growing meat on blades of grass

These are the world’s most fragile states in 2019

London wants to treat violent crime like a disease

Want more climate action? Let’s show how good a planet-friendly life can be

Europe’s far-right launches attacks on neighboring nations

Top envoy to Yemen praises ‘flexibility’ of chief negotiators as new UN mission chief is named

MEPs agree on new rules to tax digital companies’ revenues

EU Commission announces Safe Harbour 2.0 and a wider Data protection reform

US-North Korea summit in Singapore ‘a promising development’ says Guterres

My unlimited China

Safer products: stepping up checks and inspections to protect consumers

YO!Fest back in Strasbourg for the 2nd edition of the European Youth Event – 20-21 May 2016

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s