Brussels, Paris and Madrid take EU to court for air quality
Brussels, Paris and Madrid are taking the EU Commission to court for not respecting the nitrogen emission legislation and having given in to automotive lobbies. The three European capitals are trying to bring a joint action against the European regulation number 2016/646 on diesel cars’ nitrogen (NOx) emissions.
While the EU government is pushing cities to reach the limit of 80 mg/km of nitrogen, Environment Commissioner, Kermanu Vella, convened many ecology Ministers to send them a final warning back in January. It is also giving some slack to car manufacturers on the same matter.
This limit has now changed. In 2007, the Parliament voted that all new models would have to be beneath the 80mg/km limit by 2017. New cars will have to follow the rule by 2019. But the EU Commission has changed that rule, allowing car manufacturers to surpass that limit by 110%. By 2020 for new models and 2021 for all new cars, nitrogen emissions will still be authorized as high as 50% above the limit.
The rise of cities
If cities want to attain the standards set, this has to change. “We need support from the European Union to manage air quality”, explains Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, “I’m proud to stand beside the mayors of Madrid and Brussels and represent millions of citizens to say we can’t be silent any more.”
In the USA New York is suing five of the major petrol companies responsible for 11% of CO2 emissions worldwide. The city says that they knew about their impact. At the same time, 17 States prosecute the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) for the Trump administration regression on fuel and vehicle emission standards instituted by the Obama administration.