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24 states and car manufacturers: Alliance seals the end of the internal combustion engine

24 states and automakers
Alliance seals the end of the internal combustion engine

Six major automobile manufacturers are committed to an end to internal combustion engines at the World Climate Conference in Glasgow. Two dozen states also want to lead by example. Germany is not taking part – at least says the outgoing Transport Minister Scheuer.

In the hot phase of the World Climate Conference in Glasgow, two dozen countries want to set the tone with a specific rejection of the internal combustion engine. 24 states, six major car manufacturers as well as some cities and investors want to set an end date for the sale of cars with internal combustion engines, as the British host of the climate summit announced. There was no detailed information about the signatories in advance.

The participating governments want to “work towards ensuring that all sales of new cars and light commercial vehicles are emission-free by 2040 worldwide and in leading markets by 2035 at the latest”. The car companies should therefore strive to sell only emission-free cars and vans in leading markets by 2035 at the latest. According to the British announcement, the companies involved include Mercedes, Ford and General Motors. Volkswagen, Toyota, BMW and the world’s fourth largest automobile manufacturer Stellantis reportedly do not want to sign the commitment.

The negotiators fought for details until late Tuesday evening. It was unclear whether Germany would sign the declaration until late at night. The Ministry of the Environment said that the federal government has not yet made a final decision. However, the managing minister of transport, Andreas Scheuer, had previously rejected the initiative.

“The fossil combustion engine will expire in 2035. The combustion technology is still needed,” said Scheuer. “We want to make them climate-neutral with synthetic fuels and preserve the advantages of the technology.” The planned declaration does not take into account the propulsion with synthetic fuels. That is why his ministry is against it. That is also the line of the incumbent federal government.

Greenpeace boss Martin Kaiser considers this to be irresponsible: “It would be extremely embarrassing if Germany weren’t there.” Such a declaration is overdue. About the Minister of Transport, Kaiser said: “Fortunately, Andreas Scheuer is now history.” It is important that large car companies such as VW, BMW and Daimler take part.

Subsequent commitments cannot be ruled out either: on Tuesday, Germany only signed a declaration on Tuesday after days of hesitation to end the financing of oil and gas projects abroad. Because of the use of fossil fuels, the transport sector is one of the world’s largest emitters of greenhouse gases. According to experts, a mobility turnaround towards clean forms of propulsion is of crucial importance for achieving the international climate targets.

Environmental activists disappointed

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson also plans to travel to Scotland on Wednesday to give momentum to the negotiations on the last few meters. From the point of view of the British Summit President Alok Sharma, there is still a lot of hard work ahead of the delegations. “We’re making progress, but we still have a mountain to climb.” The German Environment State Secretary Jochen Flasbarth expressed confidence that there could be a solution to the controversial Article 6 of the Paris Climate Agreement.

The presidency plans to publish a first draft of the planned final declaration on Wednesday. The bullet points published so far are criticized by environmentalists as weak and vague. Earlier summits were extended several times. The aim is to limit global warming to a maximum of 1.5 degrees compared to the pre-industrial period and to regulate how the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement is to be implemented in concrete terms. So far, the plans are nowhere near enough.

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