MEPs meeting in Strasbourg plenary approved the text on regulating CO2 emissions from passenger cars and vans, which is part of the EU’s ambitious climate plan, with 339 votes in favor (249 in favor, 24 abstentions).
This close vote determines the position of MEPs before their negotiations with the Member States to conclude a compromise. Cars account for at least 12% of CO2 emissions in the EU. The adopted text sets out the intermediate targets proposed by Brussels: 15% reduction of car emissions by 2025 and 55% by 2030.
While Parliament earlier Wednesday could not agree on a reform of the carbon market, it approved several other texts in the climate package, including the increase in the binding targets for CO2 capture by natural “carbon sinks” (forests, land use, etc.).
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The goal of “zero emissions” in the car industry gave rise to a bitter struggle, with an amendment from the EPP (Pro-European Right and Leading Power in Parliament), which instead proposed aiming for a 90% reduction in car emissions by 2035. This would have allowed the sale of hybrid cars to continue and according to the EPP to promote alternative technologies. The change was eventually narrowly rejected.
The Greens, who wanted to bring forward the ban on heat engines by 2030, were not convinced either.
The Court, which also called for the carbon dioxide emitted to be produced for the production of a car to be taken into account, did not adopt an amendment promoting the use of “synthetic fuels“and other biofuels that are considered to be less carbon intensive than fossil fuels.
“Protecting both the climate and jobs in the sector”
“We are setting a clear course for the industry by supporting the completion of internal combustion engines in 2035, an important victory and in line with the goal of carbon neutrality by 2050“, As a car drives an average of 15 years, Pascal Canfin (Renew, Liberal) welcomed.
With thirteen years to change Europe’s most job-heavy industry, it’s entering the electrical age “a way to protect both the climate and jobs in the sector over time”Noted Michael Bloss (The Greens).
The NGO Transport & Environment looked into the phasing out of internal combustion engines “a historic opportunity to stop our dependence on oilAnd increased production of electric vehicles will help bring prices down, according to one of its officials, Alex Keynes.
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The right wing, which logically voted against the whole text, was concerned about the industrial consequences. “Introducing “zero emissions” would be tantamount to condemning a great deal of industrial activity and would severely penalize consumers.“, assessed Agnès Evren (EPP). She criticized a text which”prevent the marketing of high-performance hybrid vehicles or vehicles using biofuels“, whose production may prove to be cheaper than electric cars.
“It is a decision towards the market, towards innovation and modern technologies, without admitting that there is not enough charging infrastructure in large parts of Europe“for electric cars,” criticized Hildegard Müller, chairman of the powerful association of German manufacturers VDA.
In addition, the text stipulates that luxury cars (between 1,000 and 10,000 passenger cars registered per year) benefit from an exemption that allows them to be equipped with a heat engine until 2036.
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