BRUSSELS (Bloomberg) -- The European Union is taking Germany to court for permitting Daimler to use a refrigerant for car air-conditioning systems that is banned because of its global warming potential.
The European Commission said the German government breached a 2006 EU law prohibiting the air-conditioning systems of vehicles certified after the start of 2011 from being filled with a refrigerant called R-134a. Daimler continued to produce and sell Mercedes-Benz cars with the product, refusing to switch to a more climate-friendly refrigerant known as R1234yf because of flammability concerns that the EU says are groundless.
"The German authorities did not take the necessary action to ensure that the vehicles were brought back in conformity with EU law by ordering Daimler AG to recall the vehicles and make the necessary technical adaptations," the commission, the 28-nation bloc's regulatory arm, said in a statement today in Brussels.
The case will be heard by the EU Court of Justice in Luxembourg. The spat has threatened to undermine the EU's goal of leading the fight against climate change and to fragment the bloc's single market.
R-134a has a global-warming potential higher than the limit set by EU law and Daimler's refusal to switch to R1234yf -- which is made by Honeywell International and DuPont -- prompted France two years ago to suspend Mercedes sales in the country.