The European Union 27 bloc countries have approved a plan to eliminate carbon emissions to zero by 2035, by banning the sale of new vehicles that run on petrol and diesel.
EU member states' environment ministers cleared the final plan after Italy was able to convince auto manufacturing companies in the country to give up on their demand for a five-year delay in the current proposal. The consensus was reached after Germany’s proposal to allow countries to use carbon-neutral fuels such as synthetic fuels or plug-in hybrids.
The plan also says that 'niche' manufacturers or those producing less than 10,000 vehicles per year will be exempted for five years. The clause is aimed at benefitting the luxury brands like Ferrari and Lamborghini.
In a landmark verdict, European lawmakers had voted in favour of banning the sale of new vehicles that run on petrol and diesel by the year 2035. The EU parliament also rejected attempts to water down Emission Trading System targets, while calling for a methodology for assessing the full life-cycle of CO2 emissions. The EU Parliament supported revised CO2 emissions standards for new passenger cars and light commercial vehicles, part of the “Fit for 55 in 2030” package.
Passenger cars are a major polluter, accounting for 61% of total CO2 emissions from EU road transport. Transport was responsible for about a quarter of the EU’s total CO2 emissions in 2019, of which 71.7% came from road transportation, according to a report from the European Environment Agency.
Transport is the only sector where greenhouse gas emissions have increased in the past three decades, rising 33.5% between 1990 and 2019.
The EU aims to achieve a 90% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from transport by 2050, compared with 1990. This is part of its efforts to reduce CO2 emissions and achieve climate neutrality by 2050 under the European Green Deal roadmap.