Big talk, big emissions: Barroso slammed for climate hypocrisy as EU Commission launches global warming campaign

29 May 2006

Brussels, 29 May - Today global warming campaigners protested outside the Berlaymont, bashing European Commission President Barroso for his hypocrisy on the issue of climate change. They offered Mr Barroso a shame award for driving a gas guzzling car and for disregarding the need to set binding fuel efficiency standards for cars sold in Europe. [1]

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More photos and for a close look at the poster, see below.
Images are free to use. Please credit Friends of the Earth

Ironically, President Barroso today launched a European campaign to raise the awareness of EU citizens about their contribution to global warming. But Barroso himself drives a Volkswagen Touareg. This fuel-heavy 4x4 car has carbon dioxide emissions of at least 265g/km, over twice the EU's own original objective for new cars. [2]

Jan Kowalzig, Climate campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe said:

"The Commission�'s new global warming campaign is called 'You control climate change'. But EU Commission President Manuel Barroso clearly does not feel that this also applies to him!"

"Barroso is being hypocritical by launching a climate change campaign whilst continuing to drive his big gas-guzzling car, a monster SUV, in the narrow roads of Brussels. As a high-profile politician he should lead by example, making significant changes to his own lifestyle."

Friends of the Earth Europe also calls on Mr Barroso to get tough on binding emissions standards for cars, to replace the current voluntary target that car makers are failing to meet. The target originally proposed by the European Commission was a maximum of 120g CO2/km for an average car, by 2010. A study prepared for the European
Commission reports that achieving this target would cost less than 600 EUR per car, but savings from reduced fuel consumption would be twice as high over the lifetime of the car. [3]

Jan Kowalzig said:

"Greenhouse gas emissions from the transport sector have risen dramatically over the past decade. Binding efficiency standards for cars would help to reverse this trend. And in addition, if cars were to meet an efficiency standard of 120g CO2 per km, that could also reduce the huge economic costs of importing foreign oil by almost 30 billion Euros a year."





[1] NGO activists, from Friends of the Earth Europe, the Belgian action group 4x4info and the French group R�seau Action Climat France, offered the award of shame to Barroso outside the Berlaymont today. Campaigners brandished posters depicting Barroso with his Touareg, bearing the slogan "Big talk, big emissions".

Click on the poster for large size

Click on the photos for high-resolution.

[2] Back in 1996 the European Commission proposed emission standards for cars of 120g CO2/km, to be achieved by 2010. Car makers rejected this target, and finally a voluntary target of 140g CO2/km by 2008/2009 was agreed. Currently, emission levels are at about 160g CO2/km. At the current rate of improvement, car makers will not meet their own voluntary target. Also, although the efficiency of cars has improved, their overall emissions have increased by more than 20% since 1990, as sensational growth rates of transport demand has outpaced the efficiency gains.

[3] The report estimates the costs to be at most 577 EUR per car, but also notes that this is likely to be an exaggeration of the costs by the car makers, similar to the cost over-estimation on catalytic converters in the late 1980s. See: Institute for European Environmental Policy, IEEP/TNO/CAIR 2005 - "Service contract to carry out economic analysis and business impact assessment of CO2 emissions reduction measures in the automotive sector"; available at

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