EU votes to ban internal combustion engine cars from 2035
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The European Parliament has endorsed a ban on the sale of new cars with internal combustion engines from 2035, as part of its decarbonisation commitment.
The European Union assembly voted in Strasbourg, France, in favour of a motion that will require carmakers to cut carbon-dioxide emissions by 100 per cent by the middle of the next decade.
The legislation is part of the 'Fit for 55' package, which includes the ban of combustion-engine cars from 2035 and a 55 per cent reduction in CO2 from vehicles in 2030 compared with 2021. The move deepens an existing obligation on the car industry to lower CO2 discharges by 37.5 per cent on average at 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 considered as the most crucial step in the approval process.
“Purchasing and driving zero-emission cars will become cheaper for consumers,” said Jan Huitema, the European Parliament’s lead negotiator on the policy. Huitema had also pushed for an extra 2027 interim target to speed up the production of clean cars, which was rejected.
Environmentalists hailed the parliament’s decisions, with Transport & Environment - an alliance of European environmental organisations - saying the vote offered “a fighting chance of averting runaway climate change”.
Carmakers including Ford and Volvo have also publicly supported the ban. However, the 2035 deadline will be particularly tough on German carmakers, who have fallen behind foreign rivals when it comes to electric cars. As such, representatives from the German car industry have criticised the decision.
The VDA lobby group - the German association of the automotive industry - said the vote was “a decision against innovation and technology”, as it ignored the lack of charging infrastructure in Europe. The group had tried to push to keep synthetic fuels exempt from the ban, but the proposal was rejected by lawmakers.
Transport reportedly produces 25 per cent of Europe’s planet-heating emissions and greenhouse gases from the sector have increased in recent years, threatening the EU’s commitment to fighting climate change.
In addition to the ban on combustion-engine cars, the EU is also discussing a wide range of measures to reach its goal. However, due to certain disagreements, the parliament has decided to postpone the vote on two controversial measures: the creation of a Climate Fund to support those affected by clean-energy revamp, and the establishment of an import tax known as the 'Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism' (CBAM).
The planned CBAM would be a first-of-its-kind tool that would allow the EU to raise the prices of some imported goods - including steel and aluminium - that are spared climate-protection costs faced by manufacturers based in the bloc.
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