The European Union has reached an agreement on a law that will effectively ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars beginning in 2035, aiming to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles and combat climate change.
Negotiators from EU countries and the European Parliament, which must both approve new EU laws, as well as the European Commission, which drafts new laws, agreed that carmakers must achieve a 100% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2035, making new fossil fuel-powered vehicles impossible to sell in the 27-country bloc.
“This deal is good news for car drivers… new zero-emission cars will become cheaper, making them more affordable and more accessible to everyone,” Parliament’s lead negotiator Jan Huitema said.
The agreement, according to EU climate policy chief Frans Timmermans, sends a strong signal to industry and consumers. “Europe is embracing zero-emission mobility,” he says.
The agreement also included a 55% reduction in CO2 emissions for new cars sold after 2030 compared to 2021 levels, which was significantly higher than the previous target of a 37.5% reduction by then.
New vans must comply with a 100% CO2 reduction by 2035 and a 50% reduction by 2030 when compared to 2021 levels.
With regulators increasing pressure on automakers to reduce their carbon footprint, many have announced electrification investments. Volkswagen CEO Thomas Schaefer announced this week that the company will only produce electric vehicles in Europe beginning in 2033.
Nonetheless, when the EU law was proposed in July 2021, it was met with some opposition, with the European car industry association ACEA warning against banning a specific technology and calling for internal combustion engines and hydrogen vehicles to play a role in the low-carbon transition.
On Thursday, negotiators agreed that the EU will draft a proposal outlining how cars powered by “CO2 neutral fuels” could be sold after 2035.
Small carmakers that produce fewer than 10,000 vehicles per year can negotiate lower targets until 2036, when they must meet the zero-emissions standard.
The law is the first to be finalized as part of a larger package of new EU policies aimed at meeting the bloc’s greenhouse gas emission reduction targets.
In order to demonstrate that the EU is pressing ahead with its climate goals despite a looming recession and soaring energy prices, Brussels is seeking agreements on two more laws from the package in time for the United Nations climate talks in November.
(Adapted from Business-Standard.com)