Facing strong conservative opposition, lawmakers in the European Parliament narrowly voted on Wednesday in favor of a European Commission proposal to completely ban new CO2-emitting vehicles by 2035.
Last year the Commission unveiled plans to stop the sale of vehicles using internal combustion engines as part of an ambitious climate target to cut emissions by more than half this decade and 90% by 2035.
The measure was passed by 339 votes to 249 with 24 abstentions at a session in Strasbourg – effectively limiting future sales to emission-free all-electric models.
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Cars currently account for 12% of all CO2 emissions in the EU27 bloc, while transport accounts for around a quarter.
The conservative European People’s Party (EPP), Parliament’s largest group of lawmakers, had sought to promote a compromise that would have watered down the proposals and allowed sales of hybrid vehicles to continue.
Their amendment was narrowly defeated while an ambitious attempt by the Greens to bring the measure forward to 2030 also failed.
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The Tories have also been unable to push through amendments to take into account the carbon footprint of producing a car as well – potentially allowing carmakers credits for synthetic fuels, say e -fuels, made with captured carbon dioxide and hydrogen produced from renewable sources.
After the vote, EU Environment Committee Chair Pascal Canfin triumphantly tweeted: “100% zero emission cars by 2035! I warmly welcome the vote on CO2 standards at @ Europarl_FR This position of the European Parliament is an important victory and in line with our objective of climate neutrality.”
100% zero emission cars in 2035! I warmly welcome the vote on CO2 standards in @Europarl_EN. This position of the European Parliament is an important victory and consistent with our objective of climate neutrality. #GreenDeal
—Pascal Canfin (@pcanfin) June 8, 2022
German EU green lawmaker Michael Bloss also hailed the vote as a move that would simultaneously protect the climate and jobs in the sector.
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French EPP MP Agnès Evren, however, was less impressed with a decision which she said would “doom industrial activity and heavily penalize consumers”.
She said the legislation would prevent the marketing of high-performance hybrid vehicles or vehicles using biofuels, which she said could potentially be cheaper and cleaner to produce than electric vehicles.
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