The European Parliament has approved a ban on the sale of new cars with internal combustion engines from 2035, as part of its commitment to decarbonisation.
The assembly of the European Union has voted in Strasbourg, France, in favor of a motion that will oblige car manufacturers to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 100% by the middle of the next decade.
The legislation is part of the ‘Fit for 55’ package, which includes a ban on combustion engine cars from 2035 and a 55% reduction in CO2 from vehicles in 2030 compared to 2021. The move reinforces an existing obligation for the automotive industry to reduce CO2 emissions by an average of 37.5% by the end of the decade compared to last year.
Although the measure still needs to be confirmed by the European Council, the parliamentary vote was seen as the most crucial step in the approval process.
“Buying and driving zero-emission cars will become cheaper for consumers,” said Jan Huitema, the European Parliament’s chief policy negotiator. Huitema had also pushed for an additional interim target of 2027 to speed up production of clean cars, which was rejected.
Environmentalists have welcomed the parliament’s decisions, with Transport & Environment – an alliance of European environmental organizations – saying the vote offers “a chance to tackle runaway climate change”.
Automakers including Ford and Volvo have also publicly backed the ban. However, the 2035 deadline will be particularly tough for German manufacturers, which have fallen behind their foreign rivals when it comes to electric cars. As such, representatives of the German automotive industry criticized the decision.
Lobby group VDA – the German automotive industry association – said the vote was “a move against innovation and technology” because it ignored Europe’s lack of charging infrastructure. The group had tried to lobby for synthetic fuels to be exempted from the ban, but the proposal was rejected by lawmakers.
Transport is thought to produce 25% of global warming emissions in Europe and the sector’s greenhouse gases have risen in recent years, threatening the EU’s commitment to tackling climate change.
Besides banning combustion engine cars, the EU is also discussing a wide range of measures to achieve its goal. However, due to some disagreements, Parliament decided to postpone the vote on two controversial measures: the creation of a Climate Fund to support those affected by the clean energy overhaul, and the establishment of a import tax known as the “Carbon Border Adjustment”. Mechanism” (CBAM).
The planned CBAM would be a one-of-a-kind tool that would allow the EU to increase the prices of certain imported products – including steel and aluminum – which are spared the costs of climate protection faced by block-based manufacturers.
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