European mayors condemn Brussels U-turn on car emissions limit


Following the European Parliament’s failed attempt to veto a proposal allowing car manufacturers to exceed the European gas emissions limits, 20 European mayors – amongst which five Energy Cities members- published an open letter to denounce the EU lack of ambition on air pollution standards.

Air pollution is a growing problem for European cities. The WHO estimates that toxic gas emissions coming from cars are responsible for 75,000 premature deaths in Europe each year. Actions to deal with this situation such as alternate circulation or banning cars from the historic centres were taken by various European cities. However the impact of these measures might be endangered following the European Parliament decision to allow car manufacturers to violate the European emissions standards.

This move from the EU is baffling looking back at the commitments it made a few months ago at the COP21 in Paris. The adoption of high environmental standards have been one of the major accomplishments of the Union and the VW scandal should have been an occasion to reaffirm these measures.

In an open letter published on March 16th, 20 mayors from the biggest European cities denounce the EU’s U-turn on the respect of toxic gas emissions by cars. “How can we protect the health of our fellow citizens when the European Union has rubber-stamped a permit to pollute, at the expense of public health?” “Should we tell them that their government has prioritised the health of the automotive industry over their own?,” they write.

This year, Energy Cities is launching its 3D campaign to speed up the energy transition: Devolve, Democratize, Divest. 
By signing the online petition (in French and Spanish) proposed by the 20 leading cities, you can support our Devolve priority!

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Publication date

March 17, 2016