EU lawmakers approve ban on combustion engine cars in 2035 | News, Sports, Jobs

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Parliament on Wednesday backed a proposal to ban the sale of new combustion-engine cars in 2035, seeking to step up the fight against climate change through the faster development of electric vehicles.

The assembly of the European Union has voted in Strasbourg, France, to force automakers to cut their carbon dioxide emissions by 100% by the middle of the next decade. The mandate would amount to a ban on the sale in the 27-nation bloc of new petrol or diesel cars.

EU lawmakers also approved a 55% reduction in CO2 emissions from automobiles in 2030 compared to 2021. The decision reinforces the existing obligation for the automotive industry to reduce CO2 emissions by 37.5% on average at the end of the decade compared to last year.

Environmentalists welcomed the decisions of parliament. Transport & Environment, a Brussels-based alliance, said the vote offered “a chance to fight rampant climate change.”

But German car industry lobby group VDA criticized the vote, saying it ignored Europe’s lack of charging infrastructure. The group also said the vote was “a decision against innovation and technology” a reference to industry demands for synthetic fuels to be exempted from the ban, which European lawmakers rejected.

If approved by EU countries, the 2035 deadline will be particularly difficult for German automakers, which have focused on powerful and expensive combustion engine vehicles while falling behind their foreign rivals in matter of electric cars.

The 2030 CO2 emissions reduction target and a 2035 ban on combustion engines were proposed last year by the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm. Cars account for around 12% of European greenhouse gas emissions, responsible for increasingly frequent and intense heat waves, storms and floods linked to climate change.

Governments of EU member countries must deliver their verdict in the coming weeks or months before a final EU agreement on tougher car emissions requirements is approved.

The Cars Act is being considered as part of a package of draft EU climate legislation covering a range of other polluting industries.

The EU plans to reduce greenhouse gases by 55% in 2030 compared to 1990 rather than just 40% previously agreed over the period.

Much of the reductions would come from power plants and factories. These two sectors, unlike cars, have their greenhouse gas emissions reduced in the EU by a European emissions trading system which reduces the total supply of pollution permits required each year.

Earlier on Wednesday, the European Parliament failed to move this part of the climate package forward due to a split over the pace at which allocating some emissions permits for free – as opposed to auctioning them – should be deleted.

The assembly asked its environment committee to reopen deliberations on the issue. As a result, the European Parliament has also delayed its decisions on two related initiatives.

One is the creation of a Social Climate Fund to help vulnerable households cope with the planned clean energy overhaul – an issue that has become more politically sensitive as Russia’s war in Ukraine has fuel prices skyrocket.

The second is an unprecedented import tax known as the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism. The planned CBAM is a one-of-a-kind tool that would allow the EU to raise the prices of certain imported products – including steel and aluminum – which are spared the climate protection costs faced by block-based manufacturers.

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Kevin A. Perras