German carmakers seek wider EU loophole on CO2 standard
* German industry body seeks more "supercredits"
* Climate Commissioner seeks to limit the number
BRUSSELS Nov 26 (Reuters) - German car manufacturers are seeking to widen a loophole in EU regulations that would allow them to produce more cars with carbon emissions above a 2020 EU target.
A proposal from German automakers' body VDA would allow them effectively to add on around 10 grams of carbon per km to an EU target to cut vehicle carbon emissions, campaigners say.
EU car manufacturers are divided over how a 2020 EU target to cut carbon emissions to an average of 95 grams per km should be shared out across the European industry.
VDA wants a larger number of "supercredits", which allow manufacturers to produce more cars that exceed the EU target if they also make very low emission cars, such as electric or hybrid vehicles.
The German industry group is seeking to increase the number of supercredits by, for instance, allowing vehicles with slightly higher emissions than the minimum set by the European Commission to qualify for supercredits, and getting rid of a cap of 20,000 registrations per manufacturer.
"Twenty thousand is far too low," Eckehart Rotter, VDA spokesman, said on Monday. "Supercredits are a good thing."
The precise implications of supercredits depend on many variables and they could lead to increased uptake of very low emission vehicles, as well as allowing the continued production of more heavily polluting ones.
But campaigners accuse VDA, which represents brands like Volkswagen and BMW, of seeking to defer compliance with EU targets and of making them less ambitious.
"The cumulative supercredits proposed by the VDA would increase the target by at least 10 grams," Franziska Achterberg, EU transport policy adviser at Greenpeace European Union, said.
"They are calculating the target, rather than trying to achieve it."
European Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard has sought to limit the number of supercredits, while Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger has taken up the carmakers' argument.
According to publicly available minutes of a Commission meeting in July, Oettinger said the cap of 20,000 registrations "seems too low, particularly for high volume manufacturers".
Daimler AG is among those who have supported supercredits.
"Supercredits for vehicles with very low CO2 emissions are a positive incentive for the manufacturers, which does not cost the taxpayers anything and would be applied consistently across the EU," Hartmut Baur, senior manager, environmental, energy and transport policy at Daimler AG, said earlier this month. (Reporting by Barbara Lewis; Editing by Mark Potter)
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