Brussels – Europe’s green revolution takes shape and passes through transport. The stop to sales of cars and petrol from 2035 is one of the most important and discussed news of the maxi ‘Fit-for-55’ package on climate presented today by the European Commission which, after a series of negotiations with environmental NGOs, on the one hand and the hammer of the industry lobbies on the other, relaunches its role as a global pioneer in the fight against climate change and projects itself towards zero emissions by 2050. Being the first to indicate to the world how it intends to do it with a series of legislative proposals put in black and white. “The fossil fuel economy has reached its limits, a new model is needed”, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen explained in the press room, recalling that – to respond to the ongoing climate upheavals – the EU wants to arrive to 2030 with 55% less emissions than in 1990. And it wants to do it with “a complete architecture” which also includes the proposal to reduce CO2 emissions from new cars to zero from 2035. Effectively putting an end to the sales of petrol and diesel vehicles in favor of electric motors.
The measure “will also benefit citizens by reducing energy costs and improving air quality”, argued von der Leyen. However, without convincing the European automotive industry (represented by Acea), which immediately replied hard-nosed by defining the stop to gasoline and diesel engines in 2035 as “irrational”. If electric vehicles then become the only ones on the new European market, they will also bring with them the unknown factor of the charging points which, according to car manufacturers, they would continue to be too few on the continent despite the push expected from Brussels. The green transition conceived by the community executive is however made up of several pieces. Putting a price on carbon will be “the central point that will guide the economy”, explained von der Leyen. Brussels proposes that, alongside a reinforced ETS for industry and energy and expanded to maritime transport and aviation, a separate CO2 market for road transport and buildings should be born, openly supported only by Denmark and Germany and which France and France oppose instead. Netherlands.
These are precisely the areas where efforts to cut emissions in recent decades have been in vain. The proceeds from the new market should therefore flow into a 72 billion social fund for the seven-year period 2025-2032: the idea is to use it to incentivize the purchase of zero-emission cars and the energy requalification of buildings. Resources that – together with 30% of the EU budget, e to the 270 billion (37%) of the Recovery fund for climate action – should be enough to remove the specter of yellow vests. Or, at least, this is the hope of Brussels, which is well aware of the risk of an increase in the price of CO2 that falls directly on the fuel pump or the heating bill. The tax authorities also intervene in support of the green transition, with a taxation that would favor electricity at the expense of fossil fuels and a carbon tax that aims to protect European industry from the competition of goods at more competitive prices because they come from Countries with less stringent climate policies. With the hope of convincing Turkey, Russia and China, but also the US and the WTO, that this is not a protectionist measure. Architecture certainly does not make everyone happy. However, some proposals may change in the course of the long negotiations with the European Parliament and the Member States in view. “Nothing that was presented today will be easy” to achieve, admitted the European Commissioner for the Environment. Frans Timmermans, but “this is the decisive decade”.