A European Union proposal to reduce average new-car CO2 emissions 20 percent by 2012 — and to fine automakers that don’t meet the target — has revved up observers on all sides. German Chancellor Angela Merkel — a climate Cassandra whose country is home to industry giants including Porsche, BMW, and DaimlerChrysler — took a public swipe at the unfairness of the plan; conservationists said it didn’t go far enough; and Peugeot called it “anti-ecological, anti-social, anti-economical, and anti-competitive in relation to non-European Union carmakers.” Man, we thought American automakers were melodramatic.

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