BMW is lobbying to water down European plans to improve the fuel efficiency of cars at the same time as trumpeting its green credentials as the official car sponsor of the Olympic Games, according to internal documents seen by the Guardian.According to this Guardian article, BMW want to delay or reduce implementation of Europe wide fuel efficiency targets for 2015 and 2020. BMW believe that premium manufacturers (such as themselves) will be disadvantaged compared with manufacturers of normal cars. In other words people who can afford more expensive premium cars can afford the higher fuel prices and these wealthy people don't need to worry about climate change or limited supplies of oil.
That said the fuel efficiency targets will take many years to have an effect on overall carbon emissions, if in fact they do. The tail pipe emissions which are targeted account for only about half of the carbon footprint of driving, with another third attributed to manufacturing, maintenance and disposal at end of its life and the remaining sixth covering the production and supply of fuel. There is a danger that cars will be scrapped earlier to be replace with more efficient models, writing off the carbon footprint of manufacture over a shorter lifespan or that people drive more for the same cost with more efficient cars. Also, as long as the carbon and resource footprint of manufacturer is left out of the equation, the net effect of fuel efficiency is significantly diluted.
As is so often the case, the targets are set to focus on a small part of a much bigger problem, in this case the fact that too many people drive too much, resulting in a failure to solve the real problem. As this case shows, even that is long and difficult battle with those resistant to change.
Small changes don't make a big difference, we need big changes.