Europeans Make Big Dent in the Auto Industry

October 24 2008 / by Adam Cutsinger
Category: Environment   Year: 2011   Rating: 4

Chicago Tribune, 2012

According to a June 15 analysis published in the French bi-monthly magazine L’Auto-Journal, a long-standing car magazine, the European Union will soon no longer be on the short list of the top 3 contributors of greenhouse gases. The French-originated NAC (Nouvelle Affaire de Carburant) program, widely known as the New Fuel Deal by the English-speaking world, was initially criticized by citizens of nearly every European nation for being an economic fiasco.

The brainchild of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who served a six month stint as EU president, has certainly paid off for the environment, despite the widespread criticism and dire predictions. The Affaire was created by the members of the EU’s French-led APRE Summit (Automobile-fabricants pour la Protection et la Régénération de l’Environment, or ACRE – Auto-makers for the Conservation and Regenration of the Environment) in 2011, which formed an impressive international think-tank consisting of automobile manufacturers, leaders in the alternative fuel industry, financial wizards and various government officials. Despite initial opposition from such countries as the Czech Republic and Ireland, the plan was consensually ratified in February, 2010.

The program continues to offer a sizable tax credit to any European willing to trade in a low gas efficiency vehicle for a new alternative fuel vehicle. The program even initiated the manufacture of electric engine conversion kits that can replace the older engines in nearly any model of European-made vehicle, as well as a massive training program for the implementation of the kits, so drivers had the option of participating while keeping the vehicle they already owned. Versions of the kits designed to replace Japanese and American engines are as yet incomplete.

The program was funded by a palpable 3% across-the-board tax increase for all citizens of nations within the European Union, and was eventually ratified unilaterally. Additional funds are said to be drawn from other programs, as designated by the EU.

The world was paying close attention last year while numerous demonstrations were performed throughout Europe by a variety of local citizens who opposed the tax, which many dubbed “arbitrary,” “ridiculous,” and “tyrannical.” Protests culminated in the springtime “World Cup Riots” in Durban, South Africa, which ended with 2 deaths, 67 injuries and 101 arrests. The riots were principally enacted by European visitors to the city. Most of the violence and destruction was isolated to a mile-long stretch of beach between the Blue Waters Hotel and the Hotel Holiday Inn Garden Court North Beach‎‎.

APRE, despite the initial unpopularity within the EU, has recieved widespread applause from around the globe, and has been working with multiple international governments to implement more of the sort of changes that have been taking place in the EU. According to environmental reports, the overall contribution to greenhouse gases by European drivers has decreased 5% since 2008, and the number appears to be on a continuous decline. For decades the EU was among the top 3 polluters, along with China and the USA, and the reason was largely due to the CO2 emissions.

Changes for the better were already occurring in Europe, prior to the 2010 deal, as emissions level increases were gauged to be slowing measurably, but the NAC would appear to have created an unprecedented effect against CO2 pollution, by actually decreasing emissions rates to the point that they are even lower than those published in the widely recognized 2009 E.A.R.T.H.M.A.S.K tally.

In 2006, China replaced the USA as top polluter. Experts predict that by 2019, unless China and the US follow the example made in Europe, the EU will be removed from the short list, it’s position being taken over by either India or Russia.

What sort of government-initiated programs do you think would do the most to decrease greenhouse gases?

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