Tuesday, August 9, 2022

EU approves ending combustion engine sales by 2035

EU countries supported a push to eliminate carbon emissions from new cars by 2035, effectively ushering in the end of the era of the internal combustion engine.

Environment ministers reached an agreement on the proposal after Italy, home of Ferrari NV and Automobili Lamborghini SpA, left automakers seeking a five-year delay in the EU plan to clean up their fleets. Italian Ecological Transition Minister Roberto Cingolani told his counterparts on Tuesday he was “satisfied” with a deal proposed by Germany that could enable the use of carbon-neutral fuels after 2035.

The agreement defines the negotiating stance of member states for further negotiations with the EU Parliament and the European Commission on the final size of the 55 landmark greenhouse gas-reduction package for the bloc’s so-called fit. EU lawmakers are already in favor of abandoning fossil fuels in the auto industry, given the high likelihood that most car companies will have to produce electric models in less than a decade.

“I have full confidence that the European car industry can manage,” the commission’s executive vice-chairman Frans Timmermann told ministers as heated talks were underway in Brussels on Wednesday at around 2 a.m. “Our carmakers are among Europe’s industrial leaders and they can stay afloat as they embrace this global change.”

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As part of the package, the governments also agreed to strengthen the EU’s emissions trading system and strengthen its price-control mechanisms. They want to delay a new carbon market for heating and road transport fuels by a year and create a climate fund to help defray the cost of a new cap-and-trade program for the most vulnerable.

“Thanks to this agreement, Europe is placing itself at the forefront of addressing climate challenges and technology,” said French Energy Transition Minister Agnes Pannier-Rancher. “We are also ensuring an equitable transition for every member state, every territory and every citizen.”

Italy, along with four other member states, sought a 90% reduction in carmakers’ emissions by 2035, the year the European Commission aims for full cuts, as well as longer exemptions for smaller automakers. It won some concessions on humiliation for niche manufacturers like Lamborghini – who according to France would be spared the interim target proposed by the commission from 2029 to the end of 2035.

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In an effort to enable a settlement, Germany proposed a non-binding addition to the car emissions law that proposes the commission to register vehicles running exclusively on carbon-neutral fuels after 2035.

The Ministers also agreed to support key parameters of the Comprehensive Carbon Market Reform proposed by the Commission, including a 61% reduction in emissions from 2005 levels in a cap-and-trade program by 2030. They want to strengthen mechanisms that prevent excessive price hikes to curb speculation, and enable the issuance of 75 million carbon permits in the market. This would happen if the average auction price of allowances in six months exceeds 2.5 times the average price of the two preceding years.

The deal limits the size of the Social Climate Fund to 59 billion euros ($62 billion) from the 72 billion euros proposed by the European Commission.

Nation World News Desk
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