Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Carbon Criminals

Europe's Al Gore:

The president of the European Commission was forced to defend himself yesterday against allegations of hypocrisy for owning a gas-guzzling 4x4 vehicle while Brussels steps up its campaign against vehicles which pollute the atmosphere.

José Manuel Barroso, who owns a Volkswagen Touareg, said: "I have never spoken of myself as an example to anybody - today's moralistic approach is not mine."

The president's German-built 4x4 emits high levels of CO2, running at up to 356 grams per kilometre, well above a 130 g limit Brussels is seeking to impose on the car industry by 2012.

Nor is he alone:

Mr Barroso's views seem to clash with calls from David Miliband, the Environment Secretary, that carbon allowances for individual cars should be set at the EU level.

The commission's car fleet of 85 vehicles, with average emissions of more than 258 g per km, have led to accusations of bad faith.

Günter Verheugen, the German Industry Commissioner, has cautioned against "hysterical action" to cut CO2 vehicle emissions that could damage jobs in his country's car manufacturing sector.

Mr Verheugen, who cannot drive, uses an official commission car, a BMW 730 diesel, which runs at around 230 g/km.

Peter Mandelson, the British Trade Commissioner, does not own a private car but uses an official, fuel-thirsty Jaguar.

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