Global News Journal

Beyond the World news headlines

Driving carmakers to distraction over emissions

Photo
-

car emissionsEurope’s nominee to be climate chief surprised car manufacturers last week by saying she thought EU policymakers might have been too soft on them when carbon-capping rules were set in 2008.

Connie Hedegaard’s forceful intervention during hearings for the European Commission raised the possibility of a renewed push by Europe to legislate car emissions if the Dane is approved by the European Parliament for the post next month.

The exisiting rules were hard-fought-over in 2008, with big European auto nations such as France, Italy and Germany arguing that a slow transition to tougher targets was necessary to protect jobs in a sector that is not only one of the EU’s biggest employers but already feeling the heat from the economic crisis.

If new emissions caps were brought in, Big Auto and its army of lobbyists would swing back into action, pitting themselves against environmentalists and industries with an interest in tighter curbs, such as car parts suppliers and aluminium producers, who promise to cut the weight of future cars.

German ‘cash for clunkers’ out of gas just before vote

Photo
-   Germany‘s “cash-for-clunkers” scheme expired on Wednesday with a last-minute surge in demand a full three weeks before the Sept. 27 election and much faster than anyone thought possible.   The government’s 5-billion euro incentive programme has led to the purchase of 2 million new cars in the last eight months, according to the website of the Federal Office of Economics and Export Control  that has been keeping a live update of how much money was still available. New car registrations are up about 30 percent this year — in the middle of the country’s worst post-war recession.   By any measure the “Abrwackpraemie” (car junking bonus), as the Germans informally referred to the government’s more official “Unweltpraemie” (environment bonus), that offered new car buyers 2,500 euros for scrapping their older vehicles has been a great success story — a textbook example of pump priming that would make have made Franklin D. Roosevelt proud.    

 

It was among the 81-billion euro basket of stimulus measures the government put together to soften the impact of the recession and was later copied in many other countries, including the United States.It started out as a 1.5-billion euro scheme but that had to be quickly topped up in the spring as a frenzy swept the country.

Everybody’s doing it

Photo
-

Few politicians so far are calling for protectionism.

Among economic and diplomatic policy-makers, openly advocating protectionism is about as socially acceptable as promoting child pornography.

So how to explain the slew of tariff hikes, export subsidies, non-tariff barriers, stimulus packages and bailouts — highlighted in a report at the World Trade Organisation – which all have the effect of slowing imports, boosting exports and generally promoting jobs at home at the expense of competitors?

  •