Emblematic project, it was adopted by 340 votes for, 279 votes against and 21 abstentions.
The European Union took a big step on Tuesday towards the end of polluting vehicles: Parliament approved the end of sales of new cars with combustion engines in 2035 while the Commission presented its objectives for buses and trucks.
“We have reached a historic agreement, which reconciles the automobile and the climate, two enemy brothers“, rejoiced the ecologist MEP Karima Delli, president of the Transport Committee in the European Parliament. MEPs adopted, with 340 votes for, 279 votes against, and 21 abstentions, a new regulation providing for the reduction of CO2 emissions from new cars and vans in Europe to zero from 2035.
This amounts to the de facto cessation of sales of new petrol and diesel cars and light commercial vehicles in the EU on this date, as well as hybrids (petrol-electric), in favor of 100% electric vehicles.
This regulation, proposed by the European Commission in July 2021, had been the subject of negotiations between the Parliament and the Council of the EU, which had reached an agreement in October 2022. The Council (representing the Member States) will still have to formally approve the text for it to enter into force.
A text that is not unanimous
While the automobile, the main mode of transport for Europeans, represents just under 15% of total CO2 emissions in the EU, the new regulations must contribute to achieving the continent’s climate objectives, namely the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 55% by 2030 compared to 1990, and carbon neutrality by 2050.
But the vote on the text also made people cringe. The EPP (right), the main political formation in the European Parliament, defended a reduction in CO2 emissions from new vehicles by 2030 of 90% rather than 100%, fearing too much destabilization of the automotive sector, which represents nearly 13 million people. jobs in Europe.
The radical left group The Left has also voiced criticism against regulations that will make Europe “dependent on battery components from China and Africain the words of Czech communist Katerina Konecna.
Coincidentally, just a few hours after the vote on the text in Parliament, the European Commission presented its objectives in Brussels for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, this time for heavy vehicles.
She proposed to impose a reduction of at least 90% on average compared to 2019 levels, in the carbon emissions of trucks sold in the EU from 2040, with intermediate targets of -45% from 2030. then -65% in 2035.
However, the margin retained will still allow the use of internal combustion engines for vehicles used in specific geographical environments (mountains, snow, etc.). Brussels would also like all new buses put into service in EU cities to from 2030 are “zero emissions“.
“To achieve our climate goals, all parts of the transport sector must actively contribute“, including heavy goods vehicles, so that in 2050, “almost all vehicles on our roads will be zero emissionssaid Frans Timmermans, Vice-President of the Commission responsible for the European Green Deal.
True “industrial revolution”
“Our climate law requires it, our cities demand it and our manufacturers are preparing for it“, he assured, believing that heavy goods vehicles, which currently run on diesel or gasoline, will be able to run on hydrogen, via fuel cells or modified combustion engines, but also on electricity. The German manufacturer Daimler and its competitor Volvo plan the mass production of hydrogen fuel cells for trucks from 2025.
Read alsoBrussels wants carbon-free buses from 2030 and cut heavy goods vehicle emissions
And, long unimaginable, the first electric trucks “are starting to hit the market“said Mr. Timmermans. But he also acknowledged that it was a real “industrial Revolution” for the sector and highlighted the “daunting challenge“what does the production of electricity or hydrogen represent?”Greento supply this fleet of clean heavy goods vehicles. These proposals will be the subject of negotiations between MEPs and Member States over the coming months.
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