EU ministers Tuesday adopted legislation to phase out sales of new carbon-emitting cars and vans by 2035. The approved law amends Regulation 2019/631 and sets higher standards for reducing carbon emissions.
Under the new legislation, the EU’s carbon emission reduction targets will be raised to 55 percent for cars and 50 percent for vans by 2030. Both cars and vans will be required to have no CO2 emissions by 2035. Additionally, the law calls for a gradual reduction of the eco-innovation credits available to manufacturers and regular reports detailing progress towards these goals.
The legislation comes as part of the Fit for 55 package, a set of proposals developed to “ensur[e] a fair, competitive and green transition by 2030 and beyond.” Ultimately, the legislation is a critical step for the European Green Deal, the EU’s overall plan to be climate-neutral by 2050.
Prior to this week’s vote, the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy released an opinion noting that road transport accounts for 20 percent of total carbon emissions and raising concerns regarding the availability of electricity networks and complementary technologies. The Committee on Transport and Tourism also released an opinion focused on the social impacts of the transition. It stated that zero-emission vehicles must be affordable for all citizens and workers in the automotive sector must be considered despite inevitable structural changes.
The new legislation was only able to be adopted on a special condition demanded by German ministers that exempts cars powered by synthetic fuels from the ban. Though Germany had long resisted the legislation, the promise of this exemption sparked agreement.