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In addition, we have agreed to what will work out to a total fleet average of carbon dioxide emissions of 130 grams/km by 2012. That would be a 20% improvement over today's total average. This figure will probably be decreased again before 2020 (to, say, 100 g/km). The total amount of cars on the road is stagnating in Western Europe, I think. At least I know it is in Germany, it's even decreasing slightly. See e.g. this graph, which runs up to 2003 (hard to find good up-to-date info, last I remember is some lecturer mentioning this in 2005/early 2006). So this 20% decrease will likely translate into a real reduction of a similar percentage.
I tried to find some comparison of the data between the US and the EU and all I could come up with is this Pew Climate report (.pdf) from 2004. It shows that the US fleet average is around 258 g/km, which is pretty wild compared to what we have in the EU (163). But it's kind of disheartening to read that since 2002, we in the EU have only managed to cut 2 more grams, as it seems the industry was still on target to its voluntary target of 140 g/km by 2008 at that time. I blame this on the rise of luxury SUVs.
Real reductions of CO2 emissions - and thereby of fossil fuel inputs - in industry should kick in during the next phase of the emissions trading scheme in 2008. The Commission has pressured countries to come up with allocations that promise real scarcity.
Whether you see this as too little, too late or as promising but insufficient steps towards a real transition depends upon when the 'shock' will come and what the 'shock' will look like. If we get a plateau for oil during the next 20 years before oil production really drops, and prices just increase gradually due to increasing demand instead of shooting up, then the EU's policies are not so bad. If we get a sharp drop starting in the next 5-10 years, and global markets for all fossil fuels break down as each country tries to secure its own for its own economy (which seems to be the strategy of the Cheney cabal), then we are screwed.
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