This time, the "historic" agreement on heat engines is definitively adopted.

The European Parliament approved, on Tuesday February 14, the draft regulation ending the sale of new vehicles with internal combustion engines in 2035.

"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. 

The text, adopted with 340 votes for, 279 votes against, and 21 abstentions, plans to reduce 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.

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While the car, 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, in particular carbon neutrality in the EU. horizon 2050.

An exemption granted to luxury brands

This is the first agreement on a text of the European climate package ("Fit for 55") intended to reduce the EU's greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030 compared to 1990. .

The text also endorses intermediate targets – by 2030 – for reducing CO2 emissions by -55% for new cars and -50% for new vans, compared to 2021.

A derogation is granted to "niche" manufacturers or those producing less than 10,000 vehicles per year, allowing them to be equipped with a combustion engine until the end of 2035, i.e. one year more than for the rest of Europe. industry.

This clause, sometimes called the "Ferrari amendment", will particularly benefit luxury brands.

Under pressure from several countries including Germany, the text addresses the possibility of a green light to come for alternative technologies such as synthetic fuels (e-fuels) or plug-in hybrid engines if these make it possible to completely eliminate greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles.

"Our industry is ready to take up the challenge of delivering zero-emission vehicles," said Sigrid de Vries, chief executive of the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA), in a statement.

"It is essential that all EU policies and regulations align with and support this objective."

"The same mistake as with Russian fossil fuels"

But the vote on the text also made people cringe, especially within the EPP (right), the main political formation in the European Parliament, which defended a reduction in CO2 emissions from new vehicles in 2030 by 90% rather than 100%.

"The automotive industry generates 12.5 million jobs in Europe. We cannot afford to play sorcerer's apprentices with this sector," said Nathalie Colin-Oesterlé, opposed to the text.

"The transition must be made with and not against this sector, so as not to generate human and social dramas".

The regulations have also drawn criticism from The Left group over the supply of metals needed for battery production.

“Are we shooting ourselves in the foot?” asked Czech Communist Katerina Konecna.

"We are going to depend on battery components from China and Africa, we are making the same mistake as with Russian fossil fuels."

Ecologists, they have demanded to go further, and to develop similar regulations for heavy goods vehicles.

"If we want to take carbon neutrality seriously, trucks must also achieve zero emissions," said Dutch MEP Bas Eickhout.

The European Commission must present, Tuesday afternoon, its proposal to set emission reduction targets for heavy vehicles (trucks, tractors, buses, etc.), absent from the text approved by the European Parliament.

With AFP

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