How the EU damages the European auto industry

Commissioner Hedegaard addresses the European parliament

Commissioner Hedegaard addresses the European parliament

I’ve just done a lunch debate with EU Environment Commissioner Connie Hedegaard, who is passionately Warmist and green, and not a bad communicator, having done time as a journalist.  The topic was “CO2 and passenger cars: Reaching the Target”.  And the target seems to be 130 gm/km by 2015 (that’s a fleet average, I believe).  But they’re talking 90 gm/km by 2020 — a massive reduction.

The Commissioner spoke in glowing terms of the opportunities for fighting climate change, the relatively low cost of doing so by targeting the auto sector (though I believe that insulating buildings is an order-of-magnitude cheaper), and the commercial benefits of “leading the world” (how the Commission loves to lead the world!) in the fight for low-emission vehicles.

She was followed by Ivan Hodac, General Secretary of AECA, the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association,  He had a very different take.  The industry was facing too much regulation, too quickly.  In average terms across Europe, it was not making money, it was suffering, and it couldn’t take any more pressure.  The regulatory régime in Europe was much tougher than in any other market.  It was time to lighten up a bit.  The industry was doing its best, but it couldn’t work miracles.

Naturally I contributed to the debate.

“Chairman, you will understand my commitment to this debate when I tell you that my own car actually emits less than 300 gm/km.  I’d like to thank our speakers.  The Commissioner gave us an inspiring, visionary speech about the low-carbon economy she wants to see.  Mr. Hodac, on the other hand, gave us a gritty view from the coal-face, pointing out the problems we were creating for his industry.  It’s not making money.  It faces the toughest emissions rules in the world.

Commissioner, you say that our climate challenges are growing.  Yet the UK Met Office tells us that there has been no global warming for the last fifteen years, and they anticipate none for the next five years.  Perhaps we’re worrying too much? 

You tell us that the three areas you have identified with potential for new jobs are health, ICT and the “green” sector.  But you can create any number of jobs with massive subsidies.  And you will be familiar with academic reports indicating that each “green job” costs several real jobs in the real economy, as green policies push up energy prices, undermine competitiveness, stifle growth and prolong the recession.

You mentioned that when you first launched your auto emissions policy, you were accompanied by the General Secretary of a Consumer Organisation, and you argued that consumers support your policies.  May I ask if that was one of the many consumer groups subsidised by the European Commission?  Do these groups really represent consumers?  They certainly don’t represent me, and I’m a consumer.

In fact your policies are driving up costs and undermining competitiveness.  If you believe in consumers, surely we can trust consumer pressure to ensure that manufacturers increase the efficiency of the cars they build, rather than relying on regulation?

In conclusion, Chairman, let me say that I’d rather choose a car designed by Jaguar in Browns Lane than a car designed by the European Commission in the Berlaymont Building”.

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17 Responses to How the EU damages the European auto industry

  1. neilfutureboy says:

    The increase in CO2 equates with, according to research, an increase in plant and thus crop growth of about 25%. Anybody saying we have to prevent that has to provide specific evidence of equivalent or more, harm. I have never seen anybody doing so.

    • Mark says:

      Maybe, but Is that enough? Will that plant growth be enough stem the build up of CO2 in the atmosphere?

      People talk about the benefits of CO2 to plants but don’t address the fact of massive deforestation. The planet may have been able to cope with such high CO2 levels in the past but what about today?

      Anyway, I’m not a “warmist” – I veer to the opposite at times – I just want answers that will help me know the truth.

  2. Joseph Croft says:

    most of these greenies are hypocrites , just like prince Charles , he advocates green policies , while his family jet all over the world , like air miles Andy , lot of these green issues are debated all over the world , none of them decline the free 1st class air craft seat and the plush hotels , they seem to forget that without northern Europe warming none of us would be here , we all be covered in ice a mile thick , all of them are just jumping on the green issue to have a job that produces nothing , and gives a fat pay check and pension , all of the back of industry that does produce some thing , so that parasites like them can live off

  3. David says:

    Unless global average temperatures start to rise again, I suspect that the warmists will find it increasingly difficult to defend their views. However they may be able to kick the can down the road for a while. Moreover so many western (EU) governments have forced serious national level investment in wind farms etc that they must keep on defending the doctrines, but it will become increasingly difficult to do so over time. So I don’t expect much to change, at official levels , for some time. We must look to the few independent minded academics for any alternative viewpoint, I think.

  4. Phil J says:

    Quote: “But you can create any number of jobs with massive subsidies”
    I am seriously beginning to think that this puppet organisation base everything on ‘creating employment’, regardless to cost and real term jobs. I don’t think that any of these loonytoon europhiles look back and think “oh dear, we have cocked that up”, I think they simply look to the next amount of the next budget!
    Of course I may be being slightly cynical, after all, I am only a man in the street-what do I know!

  5. Larry Wedley. says:

    I for one am sick and tired of the ‘greenies’ of this world imposing strict rules on the UK whilst the rest of the world can do whatever they wish. America, China and India to name a few are pumping out huge amounts of carbon waste so unless they start playing by the same rules as other Countries the war on carbon is a complete waste of time. Why don’t these ‘greenies’ in the EU spend their time lobbying these other Countries if they want to make a real long term difference?

  6. Ted McIntyre says:

    Global warming has been debunked so many times these recycled communists should go die from infamy overload in a ditch. This is the kind of unelected one-world religion talibans that dictate our former sovereign nations’ laws, which then get approved by local traitors without even reading them. The USSR will be a joke compared to the EU if we don’t take the appropriate legal and political decisions right now.

  7. David H. Walker says:

    Here! here! Roger!

    The folks at Browns Lane (and other places) want the same car I want; striking, like a beautiful woman who quiets a room just by walking into it.

    The European Commission wants my car to be like just like their own souls; banal and androgynous, void of emotion but in the shape of a hemorrhoidal suppository.

    We “free societies” have had already way too much of the B.S.

  8. Mike Spilligan says:

    “Leading the world” – Is she serious? Who is following us, or rather, them? No one, I believe.
    In a way it’s similar to Cameron. When he made several left turns he thought that no one would notice – but if he turns round now he’ll surely notice that more than half his platoons aren’t really following.

    • David ashton says:

      Absolutely, our masters in Brussels are forcing us down a side track, whilst the rest of the world speeds along the freeway.

  9. Chris. says:

    Ford Transit production is ending this year in Southampton. Honda in Swindon is firing 800 workers. Opel is closing a factory in Germany. Peugeot-Citroen wants to close a factory in France.

    Europe’s volume car manufacturers are facing large problems due to the drop in car sales. New car sales across Europe are at a 17-year low. Figures released by ACEA – the European automotive industry association – reveal an 8.2% decline in sales. In total, just over 12 million new cars were sold in Europe.

  10. If ever there was a lunatic in charge of the asylum……

  11. vanessa coleman says:

    I only hope the people in Eastleigh realize what’s happening with regard to the EU and vote in their numbers for UKIP in three weeks time.

  12. This is outrageous mr Helmer….(Looking for your support.) This is hardly in the spirit of mr Camerons written claim that top down government targets will not override local objection…..

    Britain’s fourth largest wind farm gets go ahead amid strong local opposition….

    …You know the area already, it’s less than 5.5 km from the Bicker Array you visited recently, (and will not improve the local view.)

    …Hoping you will put forward an opinion.

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