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Old 09-14-2020, 07:47 AM   #1
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Default EU pushes for tougher 2030 CO2 targets for car industry

Leaked document reveals proposal to lower average CO2 emissions by 50% over 2021 levels, which German industry body would reject

The European Union (EU) could further tighten its CO2 emissions laws for new cars, according to a draft European Commission proposal leaked on Friday.

The draft document, seen by Reuters, purposes that the average CO2 emissions for new cars should be 50% below 2021 levels by 2030. The current plan for EU countries is for a 37.5% reduction in that timeframe.

German daily newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung reports the VDA, Germany’s influential equivalent to the UK’s SMMT car industry body, has said it would firmly oppose a tightening of emissions targets beyond that already proposed by the EU.

Currently, the target is for a 40% cut of EU member states’ CO2 emissions from 1990 levels by 2030. That could be raised to 55% if the Commission’s proposal is adopted. The more ambitious goals could help the EU achieve its goal of net zero emissions by 2030.

While relevant EU figures refused to comment on the leaked document, Reuters claims the Commission will make its proposal for a new 2030 target during this week, while a full European Parliament vote will occur next month.

Will Of The People: Ban SUVs, Boost Bicycling, Tax Frequent Flyers

The U.K.’s first climate assembly—made up of members of the public—has called for a tax on frequent flyers, a ban on selling SUVs and a cut in meat consumption.

The assembly was made up of 108 people from all walks of life who met for 6,000 hours across six weekends earlier this year. The first meeting was addressed by Sir David Attenborough.

A final report of the assembly was issued on September 10 and it said recovering from COVID-19 should encourage different lifestyles to tackle the climate crisis.

A large majority, 79% of the assembly, strongly agreed, or agreed, that economic recovery after the pandemic must be designed to help drive the country to its 2050 net zero target, which was signed into U.K. law last year.

70% want more investment in “cycling and scootering facilities.” 86% want the the U.K. to “quickly stop selling the most polluting vehicles.” 72% want more “localization.”

“Leadership to forge a cross-party consensus that allows for certainty, long-term planning and a phased transition,” the report said.

“This is not the time nor the issue for scoring party political points.”

The assembly recommends making wind and solar energy a key part of how the U.K. reaches net zero and also wants to see a greater reliance on local produce and local food production. Education should be used to encourage a reduction in meat and dairy consumption, agreed the assembly.

The report stressed that “meeting [these commitments] is more difficult than responding to the coronavirus crisis or getting Brexit done, and will require transformations in every sector of the U.K. economy, sustained investment over three decades and substantial changes to everyone’s lives.”

Above all else, the assembly wants fairness to be a the heart of policy going forward: “Fair to people with jobs in different sectors. Fair to people with different incomes, travel preferences and housing arrangements. Fair to people who live in different parts of the U.K.,” the assembly’s report concluded.

Chairs of the parliamentary select committees that commissioned the assembly report have written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, urging him to act on the recommendations of Climate Assembly UK by “showing leadership at the very highest level of government.”

In November 2021 the U.K. will host the UN climate summit, COP26.
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Old 09-14-2020, 08:07 AM   #2
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Suzuki Jimny saved with new commercial version
Suzuki Jimny van sidesteps Europe’s latest emissions regulations by becoming a light commercial vehicle

Suzuki has unveiled a commercial version of the Jimny. It’s pretty much identical to the standard off-roader – and, most importantly, it will allow Suzuki to continue selling the car in Europe, even in the wake of the EU’s more stringent emissions regulations. Sales are expected to start early next 2021.

From the outside, the Suzuki Jimny commercial looks the same as the passenger carrying model. However, to fulfill its new-found brief as a light van, Suzuki has swapped the standard Jimny’s tiny rear bench seat for a partitioned 863-litre load bay – which is 33 litres more than the passenger model offered with the back row folded.

This new commercial variant allows Suzuki to exploit a loophole in the current European emissions regulations. The standard Jimny was recently removed from sale, as its engine bumped Suzuki’s average fleet-wide CO2 emissions figure over the European Parliament’s recently introduced 95g/km threshold.

However, that 95g/km figure only applies to passenger vehicles. Commercial vehicles have a far more lenient target figure of 147g/km of CO2 which, rather conveniently, the Jimny’s 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine comes closer to matching – allowing Suzuki to eke a few more sales out of its ever-popular off-roader.

The Jimny commercial features a naturally aspirated 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, which produces 101bhp and 130Nm of torque – and, like the standard car, the unit is mated to a four-wheel-drive system, which features a five-speed manual gearbox and a low-range transfer case.

Suzuki also says that Jimny commercial buyers will receive the same level of standard equipment as the passenger model. Standard kit, therefore, will include air conditioning, cruise control, a full-size spare wheel and a touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
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Old 09-14-2020, 08:15 AM   #3
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S.U.V. vs. Sedan, and Detroit vs. the World, in a Fight for the Future

Hyundai unveiled the 2020 Sonata at New York***8217;s spring auto show. The company hopes the all-new sedan can reverse a slide in sales.

The humble family sedan was once inseparable from American culture, the prime mover of suburban commutes and summer road trips. But most Detroit automakers are ridding their lineups of sedans and diverting investment to S.U.V.s and crossovers, not to mention electric vehicles and self-driving tech.

Detroit***8217;s Asian and European rivals see things differently. They***8217;re continuing to invest in smaller cars, in part as a hedge against changing consumer tastes or soaring fuel prices. The outcome of these bets could help determine the competitive fates of automakers in America.

For Detroit companies especially, the PowerPoint is on the wall: For years, their car lineups have consistently lost money, with sport utility vehicles and pickups delivering virtually all their profits.

That situation was already bad in the recessionary depths of 2009, when cars outsold so-called light trucks ***8212; S.U.V.s, pickups and minivans ***8212; for the last time. Since then, Americans have gone even more crazy for S.U.V.s and pickups.

In 2019, S.U.V.s and pickups are grabbing a record 70 percent of the market, with 5.9 million sales through June versus 2.5 million for cars. Sales of midsize sedans have nose-dived, from 3 million in 2012 to 1.9 million last year. One of every five cars sold was a midsize sedan in 2012; today it***8217;s barely one in 10.

As a result, Ford and Fiat Chrysler have decided to stop making conventional family sedans and compact cars almost entirely. Exceptions are made for enduringly popular muscle cars like the Ford Mustang and Dodge Challenger. General Motors hasn***8217;t said it will abandon the car market, but it is killing off several money-losing sedans and hatchbacks, including the plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt.

Kumar Galhotra, Ford***8217;s president for North America, said that in this brutally capital-intensive business, it was time to make hard choices: to invest where Ford sees growth and competitive strength, and to shed shrinking or money-losing segments.

ImageThe Lamborghini Urus at the New York show in April. Even the most high-end marques have gotten in on S.U.V.s.

The Lamborghini Urus at the New York show in April. Even the most high-end marques have gotten in on S.U.V.s.Credit...Justin Lane/EPA, via Shutterstock
***8220;There are still people buying sedans,***8221; Mr. Galhotra said. ***8220;But it goes back to ***8216;Where do we allocate capital?***8217;***8221;

Ford***8217;s lineup casualties include the Fusion, once among the nation***8217;s most popular family sedans, and the Focus, the compact sedan and hatchback that helped prove Detroit could compete against Japanese blue-chippers like Honda***8217;s Civic and Toyota***8217;s Corolla.

Instead, Ford will expand its S.U.V. and pickup portfolio, and pour $11 billion into 40 electrified models by 2022. Those include an electric version of its F-Series pickup, America***8217;s perennially best-selling vehicle, and a ***8220;Mustang-inspired***8221; electric vehicle ***8212; in fact, another crossover S.U.V. ***8212; that***8217;s expected in 2020. Ford is also investing heavily in self-driving technology, through its Argo AI unit.

Those are ***8220;all better businesses than traditional sedans,***8221; Mr. Galhotra said. ***8220;We***8217;re providing the vehicles that consumers want, and playing to the strength of the company.***8221;

Mr. Galhotra, like many analysts and industry executives, said the shift to S.U.V.s appeared to be permanent. He gave familiar reasons for this: the tall stance and ***8220;command seating,***8221; which afford better views, make climbing in or out a breeze and make owners feel safer, and the yawning liftgates and cargo holds, which no sedan trunk can match.

Even the world***8217;s leading luxury marques, which once scoffed at S.U.V.s, have learned that resistance is futile: Porsche, Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Lamborghini and Maserati all offer S.U.V.s, which reliably become their best-selling models in America and globally, with Ferrari and Aston Martin to follow.

Yet every mainstream foreign automaker, including Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, Nissan, Subaru and Volkswagen, continues to send new cars to showrooms, despite flagging sales. Brian Smith, chief operating officer of Hyundai Motor America, feels that Ford and Fiat Chrysler***8217;s strategies are shortsighted.

***8220;I can***8217;t answer why some people would walk away from cars,***8221; Mr. Smith said. ***8220;Because I don***8217;t get it.***8221;


Brian Smith, chief operating officer of Hyundai Motor America, said the trick was not to stop building sedans but to make them better.Credit...Brendan Mcdermid/Reuters
He said the trick was not to stop building sedans but to make them more distinctive, versatile and exciting. ***8220;Ten years ago, vanilla was O.K., but it***8217;s not anymore,***8221; he added.

To that end, Hyundai unveiled a 2020 Sonata sedan whose swoopy styling and dramatic exterior lighting made it a highlight of New York***8217;s spring auto show. The company hopes the all-new Sonata can reverse a perilous slide: Sales fell to 105,000 last year from 230,000 in 2012. It***8217;s a tough world out there, but Mr. Smith notes that nearly five million Americans still bought a conventional car last year.

Michael O***8217;Brien, vice president for product and corporate planning at Hyundai Motor America, referred to his company***8217;s fiercest competitors to underline the point.

***8220;There are more than seven million Honda Accords and Toyota Camrys alone on U.S. roads,***8221; he said. ***8220;That***8217;s a lot of people who are pretty happy with their cars.***8221;

For all their pluses, Mr. Smith said, S.U.V.s aren***8217;t for everyone. That includes younger and first-time buyers, drawn to more affordable sedans and hatchbacks. Car holdouts also include people who put a priority on smaller footprints or nimble performance.

***8220;Our Santa Fe is great, but nobody says it***8217;s ***8216;fast***8217; or ***8216;fun.***8217;***8221; he said. ***8220;Cars and sedans, done right, can still do that.***8221;

Cars do something else as well, Mr. O***8217;Brien said: They will always beat the fuel economy of comparable S.U.V.s, which are bigger and taller.

Detroit automakers seem particularly sensitive to that fuel-economy argument for cars, in part because of a historical truism they insist no longer holds: Whenever a shortsighted Detroit became overly dependent on trucks, and fuel prices reliably soared and the economy tanked, their sales tanked, too.


Unsold Ford Fusions at a dealership in Colorado. The Fusion, once among the nation***8217;s most popular family sedans, is among Ford***8217;s lineup casualties.Credit...David Zalubowski/Associated Press
In 2019, Fiat Chrysler now relies on pickups and S.U.V.s for roughly 90 percent of its United States sales, a historic high for any global automaker. Light trucks account for 84 percent of G.M.***8217;s American sales and 83 percent at Ford, record highs for both companies.

But Detroit executives insist, in virtual lock step, that they don***8217;t see history repeating itself.

First, they say, the days of guzzling, 12-miles-per-gallon Hummers are gone. Modern S.U.V.s ***8212; including wildly popular compact models with downsized, often turbocharged four-cylinder engines ***8212; have become efficient enough, they say, that consumers barely notice the gap. If they do notice a difference at the pump, affordable gasoline helps them absorb it.

Automakers and most energy analysts also expect gasoline to remain affordable for years, if not decades: The International Energy Agency expects global gasoline demand will peak by the late 2020s, in part owing to the shift to electric vehicles, keeping prices in check.

It***8217;s worth recalling that the S.U.V. boom began in the 1990s, when automakers exploited a loophole in federal Corporate Average Fuel Economy rules that even today allows light trucks to meet lower miles-per-gallon standards than cars. And because S.U.V.s and pickups generate higher per-vehicle profits than cars, automakers have a double incentive ***8212; especially when cheap gasoline is flowing ***8212; to put Americans in trucks.

In addition to those powerful forces, the Trump administration has handed all automakers, not just Detroit, a pass on fuel economy. After lobbying by every major automaker, the president gave the industry more than it asked for, freezing Environmental Protection Agency fuel economy standards at 37 miles per gallon. The move gutted President Barack Obama***8217;s 2012 fuel-economy rules, one of his signal achievements, which aimed to nearly double the average fuel economy of new cars by 2025, to 51.4 m.p.g.

Should a new, Democratic presidential administration come to power, it seems likely to reverse Mr. Trump and demand that tougher mileage and carbon emissions standards be reinstituted.

Automakers insist they***8217;re investing in a future of cleaner vehicles and electric mobility, regardless of the current climate in Washington. And even in worst-case scenarios for the economy or fuel crises, Mr. Galhotra said, Ford believes that most consumers will simply downsize to a smaller or more affordable S.U.V. rather than go back to cars.

Auto executives and some analysts suggest that, if the market does flock to cars, Motown automakers can shift production and retool factories in kind. The worry is that, if Detroit cedes its remaining car business now, shoppers might give the cold shoulder to any future comeback. As the epic rise of Japanese automakers proved in the 1970s and ***8217;80s, once Detroit loses customers to rivals, it has been vexingly hard to win them back. That possibility isn***8217;t lost on Mr. Smith at Hyundai, when he***8217;s asked about Ford Fusion or Chevrolet Impala drivers.

***8220;We***8217;ll be happy to have them,***8221; he said with a smile.

Last edited by AVANTI R5; 09-14-2020 at 08:26 AM.
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Old 09-14-2020, 08:39 AM   #4
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The Net Zero Emissions Lie

Cutting carbon emissions has become a central focus of countries and companies alike in the past decade. The oil majors are racing to ‘go green, Microsoft has pledged to go ‘carbon negative’, and over 20 nations have either committed to or achieved net-zero carbon targets. For public companies, the incentives to go green are clear, with a recent boom in ESG investing, the continued threat of activist divestment, and a growing body of government regulation. Meanwhile, for governments, the environment is becoming an increasingly important electoral issue and political parties are eager to be seen as being proactive on the issue. But just as the ESG investment boom has led to an increase in the phenomenon of ‘greenwashing’, countries who are eager to make grand statements about being carbon zero within a decade or two may be overselling exactly what it is that they are doing.

Climate change is, by its very nature, a global problem. With that in mind, it is possible for one country to reduce its carbon emissions to zero without any reduction in the level of carbon emitted worldwide. As long as that same country continues to trade and consume, the carbon-reliant products it needs will simply be imported from a nation without any limits on carbon emissions. To claim ‘real’ net-zero emissions, countries would have to go significantly further.

That isn’t to say that the net-zero initiatives are entirely without merit. Increasing renewable energy usage, building more energy-efficient homes, and electrifying transportation would all have a tangible effect on decreasing global carbon emissions. But, as economist Dieter Helm points out in his recent book, if an individual state wants to truly become a net-zero carbon emitter, then it would need to have a carbon tax at its border as well as reducing its production of carbon domestically. That would be a tax to offset the carbon footprint of the country’s imports. For example, the UK (the first major economy to pass a net zero emissions law) would have to levy a tax against Chinese products made using carbon-intensive energy sources. The geopolitical and economic risk of such a move would be enormous however, which is why most of the nations that are acting to counter carbon emissions have opted for the less effective but politically popular policy of a net zero emissions target.

As the social, economic, and political power of environmental change grows, observers must remain vigilant when it comes to hyperbolic claims about carbon. Just as energy production is driven by energy consumption, it is consumption that drives our production of carbon. The idea that a country can significantly reduce carbon production without a reduction in its consumption simply does not stand up to scrutiny. To create a truly net-zero carbon emissions future, consumption will have to drop and the cost of living will have to increase or technology will have to advance rapidly.
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