The European Union’s energy ministers are likely to grant final approval on Tuesday to the bloc’s rule to phase out new CO2-emitting cars by 2035, after Germany obtained an exemption for e-fuel vehicles.
The vote is taking place three weeks later than anticipated because Germany’s transport ministry filed a last-minute challenge to the law, threatening to derail the EU’s primary policy for bringing cars in line with its climate change targets.
Over the weekend, the European Commission reached an agreement with Germany to end the dispute, promising that combustion engine automobiles that only operate on e-fuels will be excluded from the 2035 ban.
According to EU officials, most countries are likely to support the law on Tuesday, allowing it to go into effect. Italy and Poland are expected to vote no, while Romania and Bulgaria are expected to abstain.
The EU rule will mandate all new automobiles sold in the EU to have zero CO2 emissions by 2035 and 55% reduced CO2 emissions by 2030 compared to 2021 levels.
The program was supposed to make it impossible to sell combustion engine cars in the EU starting in 2035. But, Germany’s exemption provides a potential lifeline for traditional automobiles, even though e-fuels are not yet mass-produced.
E-fuels are created by combining collected CO2 emissions with hydrogen generated using CO2-free power.
They are called carbon neutral because the CO2 emitted when the fuel is combusted is balanced by the CO2 extracted from the environment to manufacture the fuel.
Transportation contributes approximately a quarter of EU emissions. Because new automobiles have an average lifespan of 15 years, the EU claims new CO2-emitting car sales must halt in 2035 to meet the bloc’s target of net zero emissions by 2050.
Porsche and Mazda are among those who promote e-fuels. Other automakers, such as Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz, and Ford, are betting on battery-electric vehicles to help them decarbonize, and have asked EU countries not to delay the 2035 phase-out date.
EU energy ministers are also set to prolong a voluntary objective of reducing gas consumption by 15% for 12 months to assist prepare for next winter’s limited Russian gas supply.
Several EU officials anticipated ministers to address a disagreement over whether nuclear energy should be counted toward EU renewable energy targets, a subject that has divided countries and threatens to derail the EU’s primary renewables policy.
(Adapted from USNews.com)
Categories: Economy & Finance, Regulations & Legal, Strategy, Sustainability
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