* Germany held out for flexibility
* Deal still requires official endorsement
* Environmental campaigners give cautious welcome
By Barbara Lewis and Ilona Wissenbach
BRUSSELS, June 24 The European Union late on
Monday agreed a compromise deal to enforce stricter rules on
carbon dioxide emissions for all new EU automobiles from 2020.
The outline agreement on implementing a target of 95 grams
of carbon dioxide per kilometre (g/km) still needs the official
endorsement of EU member states.
German efforts to ensure that its luxury car makers, such as
BMW and Daimler, can continue to produce
more polluting, less fuel efficient cars complicated the final
stages of talks.
But Ireland, holder of the rotating EU presidency, which has
brokered the deal, said the compromise struck the right balance
between environmental ambition and economic considerations.
"This agreement clearly represents a win-win for climate,
consumers, innovation and jobs and provides another important
step towards a competitive, low-carbon economy," Irish
Environment Minister Phil Hogan said in a statement.
Under the rules, each manufacturer is assigned an individual
target to take account of the nature of their fleet and their
But making less-polluting cars is costly and restricts
profit margins, which is why Germany sought ways to delay
meeting the stricter rules.
Member states last week rejected a German plan that would
have allowed automakers to carry over credits to pollute accrued
before the new rules kick in in 2020.
Known as supercredits, these permits are earned if
manufacturers produce some very low emissions vehicles, such as
electric cars, which German firms are making to meet a separate
Germany then proposed another plan focused on another
technical device, referred to as a multiplier.
As agreed on Monday, the multiplier still buys time for
automakers because it increases the number of supercredits a
manufacturer earns for each low emission vehicle.
Germany and its automakers have repeatedly defended
supercredits, saying they encourage innovation.
The Commission, whose original proposal set a limit on
supercredits, says the problem is that too many of them mean
producers can carry on making higher emissions models and
emissions levels will fail to meet the 2020 95 g/km target.
Germany as a whole is at the upper end of the EU emissions
range, with 147 g/km in 2011, according to the International
Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT).
The EU fleet average is around 132 g/km, so it should meet
an existing goal of 130 g/km phased in between 2012 and 2015.
Environmental campaigners gave a cautious welcome to
Monday's deal as a move in the right direction.
"It could have been even better for drivers, jobs and the EU
economy if decision-makers had focused on the significant
long-term benefits of more fuel efficient cars instead of the
narrow, short-term interests of some carmakers," said Greg
Archer of campaign group Transport & Environment, said.
(Editing by Leslie Gevirtz)