Dublin MEP, Nessa Childers, has strongly criticised Wednesday’s decision by EU governments to smother the EU Commission’s new vehicle emissions tests, enabling the industry’s products to emit more than twice the legal amounts.
“I wonder why the Irish government supported this stance. Are they in awe or in hock to Germany’s leadership against proper enforcement of emissions rules?
Ms. Childers, a member of the EU Parliament’s Environment and Public Health Committee, accused the EU national governments of cynicism:
“Just after they affected a bout of pearl-clutching on foot of the Volkswagen emissions rigging scandal, EU leaders showed whose side they are on in this battle between public health and corporate lawlessness.
“Just yesterday, the first peer-reviewed academic study on the health impacts of the defeat device emissions cheating came out in Environmental Research Letters, estimating that 60 premature deaths can be attributed to Volkswagen cars in the US alone. Recalling these would prevent 140 more.
“Yet, according to EU officials’ anonymous leaks emerging from the technical meeting of EU government officials in charge of this file, the Dutch government was the only one opposing this fudging of the new rules.
“When the European automobile industry knows they can dictate policy whenever their bottom line is at stake, championed by the Union’s most powerful country, is it any wonder that they believe themselves free to act like they are above the law?
“These dangerous levels of cynicism reflect the feigned surprise from EU governments at the ‘dieselgate’ fiasco.
“My political group in Parliament, the Socialists and Democrats, have been crying out, and pushing, for years, for realistic testing that assesses real, on-road conditions. It was well known the current ones and, by extension, the Euro 6 standards, were a joke on everyone who can breathe.
“Ultimately, postponing necessary measures serves only to generate short-term savings for private interests that come to a huge cost to society as a whole.
“Those who think themselves pragmatic by protecting the industry and the European economy by doing so are seriously deluded.
They are postponing the roll out of clean innovation solutions that are the future of the car industry and others, subsidising the dirtiest kinds of fossil fuels, like diesel, in all sorts of visible and invisible ways.
“They are lying to themselves and to the public and, in the process, condemning many of us to a premature death.”
NOTE TO EDITORS:
The Environment Research Letters study can be accessed on: