Your article on Daimler's refusal to comply with the European Union's directive on mobile air conditioning raises the issues of fair competition and the role of regulation in fostering industry innovation and investment in new technologies (“Chemical rule ignites climate v safety row,” 17-23 January).
The EU needs to maintain a level playing-field. When the rule of law is not enforced, it removes incentives for businesses to comply. It also removes the incentives for companies like Honeywell to invest in the innovative materials needed for the cars of the future.
Daimler has no reason to complain. Consistent with good regulation, the MAC directive set a policy standard and allowed the free market to select the path and choose the new technology, with ample time to comply. The MAC directive, which came into effect on 1 January, was ratified six years ago.
As Chris Davies, the British Liberal MEP, and others have noted, many car-makers re-engineered their vehicles for HFO-1234yf, after extensive industry-approved testing, because they determined it was the best solution.
In direct response to the MAC directive, Honeywell invented HFO-1234yf, which many car-makers then selected as the safest, best-performing, most cost-effective and most environmentally friendly choice to comply with the directive. Honeywell also made the investments necessary to produce the new refrigerant in quantities sufficient to meet the demands of the global automotive industry.
To allow Daimler to avoid compliance with the directive without penalty would give it an unfair advantage. Further, it would allow the continued use of a refrigerant that has a global warming potential of 1,430, in contrast with HFO-1234yf, which has a global warming potential of 4, a 99.7% improvement.