Europe transport can meet new emission limits: Barrot
By Sam Cage
DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) - The European car and airlines industries should be able to adapt to new plans to slash greenhouse gas emissions, EU Transport Commissioner Jacques Barrot said on Friday.
The introduction of electric cars, in particular, should help to cut emissions from journeys within cities, Barrot told Reuters at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum.
"I think that it's possible for the car industry to adapt," he said.
The European Commission proposed in December a four-year phase-in period from 2012 for fines on manufacturers whose vehicles emit more than an average of 120 grams per kilometer of CO2, the main greenhouse gas blamed for global warming.
"The manufacturers will have to prove their imagination. And we also have European carmakers who are starting to develop hybrids and also electric cars," Barrot said. "For urban mobility, which generates 40 percent of the carbon emitted by all cars and trucks, we have great hopes for the electric car."
A fifth of cars are used only for urban transport, and Barrot hopes these can gradually be replaced by electric cars.
European plans announced this week also target a 20 percent cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 and getting a fifth of energy from renewable sources.
Airlines, as well as oil refineries, will have to pay for one-fifth of emissions permits in 2013, rising to 100 percent in 2020.
But the cost of buying new airplanes should be offset by efficiency gains, Barrot said.
The European Union executive is also asking for more efficiency from airports and air traffic control to reduce the time planes spend in flight, which Barrot said should help reach the emissions targets. "We share the burden," he said.
For full coverage, blogs and TV from Davos, see: http://uk.reuters.com/news/globalcoverage/worldeconomicforum2008
(Reporting by Sam Cage)