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EU lawmakers vote to uphold ICE ban

UPHELD: The upheld 100 per cent reduction is part of the EU’s Fit for 55 Plan presented in July 2021.

MPs vote against 10% emissions-easing amendment, sustains 2035 ICE ban

9 Jun 2022

EUROPEAN UNION lawmakers have voted to uphold a ban on new combustion engine cars from 2035, holding off a challenge from manufacturers that would have put the region’s climate goals at risk.


Members of parliament voted against an amendment that would have eased the requirement for car makers to cut emissions to a 90 per cent by the middle of next decade (instead of the 100 per cent ban the European Commission proposed in 2021).


The result outlines the position for negotiation with member states later this year, which will determine the final wording of the law. If an agreement is reached then, it will essentially terminate the development and sale of internal-combustion-engine cars in Europe and mark a crucial turning point in the region’s decarbonisation agenda.


Right-leaning groups, including lawmakers from the conservative European People’s Party, had attempted to reduce the impact of the ban, highlighting concerns over potential job losses in the industry. However, lawmakers voted against the amendment, including a clause that would allow manufacturers to buy credits for e-fuels (synthetic fuels) made using captured carbon dioxide.


The upheld 100 per cent reduction is part of the EU’s Fit for 55 Plan presented in July 2021. The plan aims to cut net greenhouse gases in the European Union by 55 per cent by the end of this decade, reaching carbon neutrality by 2050.


The EU’s Fit for 55 plan is a set of proposals to revise and update EU legislation and put in place new initiatives with the aim of ensuring that EU policies are in line with the climate goals agreed by the Council and the European Parliament.


The package of proposals is aimed at providing a coherent and balanced framework for reaching the EU's climate objectives, which ensures a just and socially fair transition; maintains and strengthens innovation and competitiveness of EU industry, while ensuring a level playing field vis-à-vis third country economic operators; and underpins the EU's position as leading the way in the global fight against climate change.


The European Commission has proposed a comprehensive set of changes to the existing EU's emissions trading system (EU ETS) that should result in an overall emission reduction (in sectors concerned) of 61 per cent by 2030, compared with 2005.


The increased ambition is to be achieved by strengthening the current provisions and extending the scope of the scheme.


The proposal notably aims to include emissions from maritime transport in the EU ETS; phase out free allocation of emission allowances to aviation and to the sectors that are to be covered by the carbon border adjustment mechanism (CBAM); implement the global carbon offsetting and reduction scheme for international aviation (CORSIA) through the EU ETS; increase funding available from the modernisation fund and the innovation fund; and revise the market stability reserve in order to continue ensuring a stable and well-functioning EU ETS.


In addition, the European Commission proposes to create a new self-standing emissions trading system for buildings and road transport to support member states in meeting their national targets under the effort-sharing regulation in a cost-efficient way. 


With the proposal, emissions reductions of 43 per should be achieved for these sectors by 2030, compared with 2005.


By shifting to the sale of new EVs, the region hopes to curtail the 25 per cent of its emissions that are generated by transportation. The existing vehicle emissions rules mandate a 37.5 per cent reduction by 2030 from the 2021 fleet average of 95 grams of CO2 per kilometre.


Environmental groups within the EU want that number bolstered to 45 per by 2027.


A group of 50 non-governmental and consumer organisations sent a letter to MPs last week calling for the 2027 intermediate target; an end to the mass-adjustment factor, which raises the emissions threshold for manufacturers that sell heavier cars; and to support the phasing out of all ICE powered cars “as close as possible to 2030 but no later than 2035”.


Industry groups say the 2035 target would come at the cost of thousands of jobs and have called for the proposal to be weakened to facilitate a softer transition to electrification.


The proposal would also end the derogation for small-scale manufacturers (that produce between 1000 and 10,000 units annually) by 2029. After that date, only manufacturers that build fewer than 1000 cars annually could apply for an exemption or modification of the emissions targets.


With Automotive New Europe.


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