The European Parliament approved a legislative proposal prohibiting the sale of new carbon-emitting vehicles beginning in 2035.
The vote preserves a crucial component of the European Union’s ambitions to reduce net global warming emissions by 55 percent by 2030, compared to 1990 levels – a target that necessitates speedier reductions in emissions from commerce, power, and transportation.
“Fifteen percent of the EU’s total greenhouse gas emissions come from road transport. Cutting these emissions is vital if we’re going to reach our climate goals,” a group of Green Party EU lawmakers tweeted after the vote on Wednesday.
The goal is to accelerate Europe’s transition to electric vehicles and encourage automakers to spend extensively on electrification, which will be assisted by another EU rule requiring governments to install millions of vehicle chargers.
“Purchasing and driving zero-emission cars will become cheaper for consumers,” said Jan Huitema, the European Parliament’s lead negotiator on the policy.
Conservative MPs’ amendments to avoid a total ban on automobiles with combustion engines were defeated by a majority vote.
“The EU is steering its future transport policy on a one-way street towards e-mobility, to the detriment of technological openness, jobs and Germany as an industrial location,” Markus Ferber, a German EU lawmaker for the centre-right Christian Social Union (CSU), said in a press release.
Others, notably Volkswagen, want to phase out combustion engine car sales in Europe by 2035. In addition, Ford and Volvo have publicly backed the EU proposal to phase out combustion engine car sales by 2035.
Industry groups, like the VDA in Germany, convinced lawmakers to reject the 2035 target, stating that it penalised alternative low-carbon fuels and was too soon to commit, given the uncertain roll-out of charging infrastructure.
“Our positions are transparent. It is our mission to develop the best solutions with everyone involved,” a VDA spokesperson said.
According to the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association, electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles accounted for 18 percent of new passenger car sales in the EU last year, despite overall automobile sales declining due to chip shortages.
Transport emits one-quarter of Europe’s global-warming emissions, and the sector’s greenhouse gas emissions have risen in recent years, compromising attempts to avoid severe levels of climate change.