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Opel Group CEO Calls for Open Discussion Regarding Future CO2 Regulation

Feb 27, 2015

  • Opel and Federal State of Hesse host workshop with top-ranking experts
Opel News - In Brussels: Opel Group CEO Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann calls for future CO2 regulations for the automotive industry

Rüsselsheim/Brussels. Is current CO2 regulation really a success story? What impact would further continuous tightening of emission limits have on the industry and the economy? What are the future alternatives? Experts, including some from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the European Centre of Economic Research (ZEW), tackled all of these questions at a workshop in Brussels hosted by Opel and the Hessian Ministry for Federal and European Affairs. Opel Group CEO Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann called for future CO2 regulations for the automotive industry to be scrutinized. For the period after 2020, Dr. Neumann proposed a model based on sensible fleet consumption limits and additional factors such as the integration in the European emissions trading scheme. “The future of CO2 targets beyond 2020 is a key topic for the entire industry. Opel wants to start a broad impartial discussion,” said Dr. Neumann.

Opel News - Meeting at Brussels: Opel Group CEO Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann and Jens Gieseke (right), member of the EU parliament

Such an approach is backed by scientific results: The prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology presented its current study which looks into the advantages and disadvantages of the current systems of regulation. The scientists approached the topic from an economic point of view. The results show that the current regulation, that only considers emission targets of new cars, has weaknesses. It is neither very effective in regards to the climate effect nor under macroeconomic aspects.

 

Representatives of the European Centre of Economic Research (ZEW) from Mannheim and Professor Andreas Löschel from Münster University showed possible alternatives. “The emissions trading scheme looks an especially viable possibility. This trade scheme has already been applied to power plants and energy intensive industries – why not use it in the transport and traffic sector,” explained Löschel. John Reilly from the MIT added that including the emissions trade scheme in the CO2 regulation for the traffic sector would save the EU economy 25 to 60 billion euro every year.

Opel News - Experts in Brussels (from left): Friedrich von Heusinger (representative of Hesse at the EU), Johan Willems (Vice President Communications Opel Group), presenter Holger Kramer, Jens Gieseke (member of the EU parliament), CEO Opel Group Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann, Joachim Koschnicke (Vice President Public Policy Opel Group), John Heywood (professor engineering, MIT), Professor Andreas Löschel (University of Münster), Richard Smokers (Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research)

The presentations by the scientists were deliberated extensively during a following panel discussion. In addition to the representatives of the MIT and ZEW, high-ranking European officials such as Philip Owen from the Directorate General for Climate of the European Commission and EU parliamentarian Jens Gieseke along with Richard Smokers from the Dutch Organization for Applied Scientific Research (TNO) attended.

 

The current CO2 regulation for passenger cars and light commercial vehicles within the European Union concentrates on the average consumption of the new car fleet of each manufacturer in the European Union. Targets of 130 grams per kilometer for this year and 95 grams per kilometer for 2021 have been fixed. Because this regulation only takes the new car fleet into consideration it ignores most of the actual CO2 emissions. The same can be said about the actual performance and way of driving. In addition, the automotive industry is being treated a lot harsher than other industries. “We need a fair playing field for CO2 regulation. The time has come to work on the framework conditions,” said Dr. Neumann.

Opel News - In debate: Opel Group CEO Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann and Philip Owen (right), general director climate of the EU commission

Opel in one of the technologically leading European automotive companies and sets standards in fuel efficiency. The most economical diesel version of the new Corsa for example reduces CO2 emission to 82 grams per kilometer in the combined cycle which is equivalent to 3.1 liters per 100 kilometers, making the new Corsa the most economical Opel presently on the market and the most economical diesel available.

 

The company is currently in the middle of the largest product offensive in its history. 17 new economical engines and 27 new models will be brought to market by 2018. Opel is optimistic to be able meet the fixed fleet target by 2021 with its ultra-modern models and engines.

 

Opel has made considerable progress in emissions reduction in recent years. According to EU statistics, the emissions average of all new cars sold by General Motors in the European Union from 2000 to 2013 dropped by almost one fifth to 132.8 grams of CO2 per kilometer.