EU Outlines New Environmental Restrictions, Disappoints Ze Germans and Ze Greens

The European Commission announced their energy bill today, which will require carmakers to reduce the CO2 emissions of new automobiles by approximately 20% to 120 grams per kilometer (30 fingers per ounce, we think) by 2012. Within the EU cars account for 12% of all carbon emissions. On one side, environmental groups are upset that the new plan abandons an old plan to cut emissions by 25%. On the other side, makers of larger cars, cars with smaller volumes and larger cars with smaller volumes may seek concessions or exemptions.

There's a monetary penalty for not reaching the standards, based on the difference between the standard and the average multiplied by the volume of cars sold. Of course, there's still disagreement over that. Will this result in lighter, more efficient cars or just more exceptions? Only time and people with foreign accents will tell. [Guardian]