The 2015 Dieselgate scandal opened a Pandora's box of car emissions fraud. Finally, thanks to the S&D’s commitment and tenacity, the environment committee in the European Parliament has reached a broad compromise, supported by a large majority of political groups, on the Real Driving Emissions (RDE) test and the end to the so-called ‘conformity factors’. The latter were initially introduced to allow the car-industry to easily adjust to a test performed in real driving conditions. In reality these conformity factors gave a de facto blanket derogation from the legal emission limits. We finally managed to put an end to this dubious rule.
S&D shadow rapporteur and vice-president responsible for the Green New Deal, Miriam Dalli, said:
“Thanks to the S&D Group, we managed to reach a progressive environment committee position on the Real Driving Emissions: the final conformity factor of 1.5 (already once lowered to 1.47) has been adjusted to 1.32. It will be revised annually and cease to exist by 30 September 2022. As S&Ds, we would have preferred to be more ambitious. It was our group who led the original battle against the introduction of the conformity factors in the first place, back in 2016. However, given the very strong opposing forces within the Council, Commission, and even within the European Parliament itself, we are satisfied that the conformity factor will finally cease to exist in the very near future.
“It is extremely important that we managed to eliminate any references to the misleading and too vague term of ‘error of margin’. This wording - pushed by the automotive industry and the EPP - would have created a very dangerous precedent since the 0.32 margin cannot be considered as an error of the Portable Emissions Measurement System (PEMS) - whose improvements the Commission should urgently put forward - but an uncertainty of its measurement as is the case with any other measuring device.
“We will never stop working to ensure that our citizens have cleaner air in their cities, wherever they live. Our ultimate aim is to push a progressive regulation that benefits our citizens, including more stringent emission limits for cars. For us, for the progressives, people’s health and the environment always come first above any other private interest.”
Note to editors:
In May 2016, the cities of Madrid, Brussels and Paris brought actions for the annulment of the Commission Regulation introducing conformity factors. The Court ruled that conformity factors amended the legal emission limits, an essential part of the Euro 5 and Euro 6 Regulation, which can only be done by co-legislators. The Court also raised doubts as to the necessity to introduce conformity factors at all. The Commission, along with Germany and Hungary, appealed to the Court in January 2019. We are currently awaiting the Court ruling on the appeal.