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12/6/2019 7:27:02 PM
Posted: 6/4/2008 7:55:47 PM EST
It's lean and mean, but is it green? EU plans clampdown on car ads

Magazines angered by proposal to require warning on climate change impact

Ian Traynor in Brussels and David Adam
The Guardian, Thursday, June 5, 2008

It's a staple of the glossy magazine: the eye-catching spread selling the latest Chelsea tractor or high-performance German road machine. But the luxury car advert looks likely to become much less attractive under green advertising rules being drafted by the EU.

As a packet of cigarettes carries a mandatory health warning, a Mercedes C-class advert may be forced to carry a climate hazard alert within months. Manufacturers would be forced to stop supplying pollution information in barely readable small print at the bottom of ads.

The European commission is believed to be considering a "traffic lights" system whereby red dots or stars would mark out high-emission cars, and green ones low-pollution ones. An alternative may be an alphabetical system of A-G grades for pollution levels.

As a result, magazine publishers, advertising executives, TV bosses and car manufacturers are to protest today when they meet senior commission officials. "The massed ranks of the media are up in arms," said Angela Mills Wade, executive director of the European Publishers Council.

The new rules would force advertisers to leaven their creativity by including information on fuel consumption and CO2 emissions in their sales pitches.

"This will not achieve the goal," said David Mahon of the European Federation of Magazine Publishers, whose members will be hit hardest by the proposals.

Chris Davies, a Lib Dem MEP, dismissed the protests as "nonsense", likening them to those of the tobacco barons 20 years ago. "The objective is to encourage a shift in consumer behaviour," he said. "They're more interested in looks and appearance, speed and power, the sexy image. If the aim is to reduce emissions, you need to change that behaviour. Through its advertising, the car industry shapes market demand."

Davies, who wrote a report on the issue adopted by the parliament last October, is calling for environmental data to take up 20% of the ad space.

But the ad agencies argue their work has a minimal role in persuading people to buy a new car, raising the question of why car companies take up so much space in magazines.

The commission inaugurated a two-month period of consultations on the issue this week before unveiling its proposals. But it is clear that regulators are to toughen the terms for trying to sell cars.

"The labelling directive in force is not working as well as it could and needs to be amended," the commission said. "[We are] ... committed to reducing CO2 emissions from cars [and ensuring] that consumers have sufficient information to choose fuel-efficient and low-emitting cars."

With cars currently emitting some 12% of total CO2 across Europe, the drive to cut road vehicle pollution is an integral part of the broader campaign to put Europe at the forefront of the global fight against climate change.

But despite the ambitious aims, the EU's 27 governments are locked in battle over how to share out the load of reaching the greenhouse gas targets.

Environment ministers from the member countries meet today to argue over the problem. On cars the aim is to limit CO2 emissions from new cars to 120g a kilometre by 2012.

But governments cannot agree on the basis for calculating the emissions, how to deal with offenders or whether and what level of fines to levy. Germany, home to BMW, Porsche and Mercedes, is pleading for special treatment.

While Davies and others in the European parliament want to extend the advertising rules to TV, radio and the internet, without quite knowing how to, it appears the new regime will initially be restricted to the print media.

Mahon argues this could be ruinous for the publishing industry, since car companies supply about 10% of ad revenue and are threatening to halt magazine advertising if forced to make loud statements about pollution.

The UK is also drawing up new rules on advertising. Department of Transport officials are considering new guidelines for manufacturers that would require the amount of greenhouse gas produced by a car to feature alongside branding and marketing slogans. The biggest change would be to roadside billboards and print adverts, very few of which currently mention a vehicle's carbon footprint.

Campaigners say such a change would close a loophole which allows the CO2 figures to be omitted from "primarily graphical" information.

The Department for Transport said: "There are already rules governing including CO2 emissions information in car adverts, for example on prominence. The department will [be] reviewing whether to extend our guidance to cover outdoor media like billboards."

Sian Berry, of the Alliance Against Urban 4x4s, said the car industry had "gleefully exploited loopholes to leave CO2 information out of as many adverts as they can".

A survey by Friends of the Earth last year showed that more than half the car adverts in national newspapers were for the biggest polluters, which emit more than 165g of CO2 per km.

"It can be a bit of a struggle for consumers to find out about the carbon emissions of a car they're thinking of buying," said Berry.

"The right place for that information is in the showroom and not on the billboards or in the papers," said Mahon.

"The fear is that there will be a reduction in the overall amount of media advertising," said Mills Wade.
Link Posted: 6/4/2008 7:57:05 PM EST
holy fucking shit
Link Posted: 6/4/2008 7:58:20 PM EST

Originally Posted By EternalVigilance:
holy fucking shit

yeah well color me surprised when we are next
Link Posted: 6/4/2008 8:02:13 PM EST
The koolaid is strong with the EU...
Link Posted: 6/4/2008 8:04:25 PM EST
I'd just add the 10,000+ scientists names to the commercial/advertisement who have debunked the Global Warming/Climate Change bullshit.
Link Posted: 6/4/2008 8:04:41 PM EST

Originally Posted By reddog51:

Originally Posted By EternalVigilance:
holy fucking shit

yeah well color me surprised when we are next

tell me about it. Sometimes I wish that I was a fucking moron like the other 75% of humanity and then this shit wouldn't bother me. Ignorance is fucking bliss. I guess being a slave is alright when you are too fucking stupid to know that you are one.
Link Posted: 6/4/2008 8:05:58 PM EST
Fuck the EU.
Link Posted: 6/4/2008 8:06:57 PM EST
Link Posted: 6/4/2008 8:07:49 PM EST
Lucky for them it affect some people with money.

May be their saving grace.
Link Posted: 6/4/2008 8:17:50 PM EST
[Last Edit: 6/4/2008 8:19:17 PM EST by Hawken50]
that's really gonna suck for billboards, when they change the name of global warming once a week.-

steve- "well Carl, it's tuesday, time to go change the billboards."

carl- "shit man, already? what are they calling it this week?

steve- "well last week it was 'global climate bat shit insanity.' this week we're changing it to 'global climate random spontaneous combustion.' but next weeks really gonna suck, cause we have to change the ads to say 'global climate-oh shit, we've gone and stopped the motor of the earth, we're all gonnnaaaaa diiiiieeeeeeeee!!!!111!!!!" so that's gonna be a shitty week.
Link Posted: 6/4/2008 8:20:51 PM EST
whatever Im sure everyone will pay attetion like they do with every other notice that has to be posted

Sign Sign everywhere a sign. Blocking out the scenery breaking my mind
Link Posted: 6/4/2008 8:37:42 PM EST
[Last Edit: 6/4/2008 8:40:30 PM EST by Desert_AIP]
What's the real cause of cyclical climatalogical changes?
Put a "sticker" on this.

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