Wednesday, July 6

The European Parliament votes to end the sale of cars with combustion engines from 2035

No agreement in the European Parliament on the emission rights trading system (ETS). But with an agreement to end the sale of cars with combustion engines from 2035. The popular have tried to water down the Fit for 55 package with several amendments to different reforms by the extreme right (ECR and ID).

In the one related to the CO2 market, as their reduction of ambitions has prospered, in the end socialists, greens and the Left have voted against the complete report for the successful amendment of the rights. In the final vote, in addition to the left, the extreme right, which continues to vote against as it does in every vote on the climate crisis, ended up knocking down the entire report on the ETS system.

That happened at noon. By mid-afternoon, however, the right-wing amendment to soften the farewell to the combustion engine has not prospered, which has paved the way for the approval of the complete report on the position of the European Parliament in forthcoming negotiations with the Council of the EU for the climate package. And, indeed, the position of the MEPs is the end of the sale of cars and vans with combustion engines in 2035.

Faced with the proposal to reduce 100% of CO2 emissions from new vehicles sold in the EU from 2035, which would mean banning the sale of vehicles with combustion engines and hybrids, the European People’s Party (EPP ) and the rest of the extreme right groups propose lowering that percentage to 90%. The amendment, in this case, has been defeated

The Environment Committee (ENVI) had already adopted on May 11, with 46 votes in favor, 40 against and two abstentions, the report that included support for the Commission’s proposal to achieve emission-free road mobility by 2035 , as well as eliminating the incentive mechanism for zero and low emission vehicles (ZLEV), since it no longer serves its original purpose because hybrids are coming in.

emission rights

Indeed, MEPs have ended up rejecting the report on the review of the EU’s emissions trading system, the so-called ETS system, which puts a price on the carbon dioxide emitted by some 11,000 energy-intensive industrial plants and which provides for a series of CO2 permits to give industries time to invest in clean technologies and remain competitive.

The text approved in the parliamentary committee on the Environment on May 11, with 46 votes in favor, 40 against and two abstentions, provided that these permits would be progressively reduced to disappear in 2030.

But the amendment introduced by the European People’s Party with the rest of the extreme right-wing groups and which went ahead, raised that date to 2034. The Social Democrats, the Left and the Greens then decided to vote against and knock down the text while accusing the popular ones betray what was agreed in the parliamentary commission to lower the ambitions.

The president of the European Socialists in the European Parliament, Iratxe García, took the floor after the vote to affirm: “When the EU most needs to bet on freeing itself from fossil fuels and ensuring its energy autonomy, the European PP negotiates with the extreme right to lower ambitions. And they expected our support? Let’s be consistent, please.”

The vice-president of the Greens/ALE and MEP for En Comú Podem, Ernest Urtasun, commented: “The PP has voted together with the extreme right for amendments that have significantly weakened the agreement. But the response of the plenary has been clear: the set of progressive forces are not going to accept a proposal that takes us away from the objective of 1.5 degrees set in the Paris agreement. The climate emergency forces us to accelerate the ambitions of the EU’s environmental policy, we cannot accept any delay or setback that takes us away from climate commitments. We have to listen to the scientific community, which is asking us to make decisions now. The fossil business lobby and conservative forces have tried to extend the privileges of the fossil alliance, delaying the gradual elimination of free emission rights proposed by the Commission. Now the agreement has to be renegotiated and from the Greens we hope that this time they will rise to the occasion”.

The vice president of Renew Europe and spokesperson for Ciudadanos, Luis Garicano, replies for his part: “The socialists have voted with Vox against the consensus in Europe necessary to fight climate change in a sustainable way. An environmental, but also economic and social sustainability, three legs for which we have fought at the same time and a strange coalition between the extreme right and the left has defeated them”.

The reform of the ETS system is part of the Fit for 55 legislative package for the EU to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 55% in 2030 in relation to the 1990 level, an intermediate objective to achieve climate neutrality in 2050.

By delaying the approval process of the European Parliament’s position on the ETS system, votes on other proposals related to this CO2 market, which has been operating since 2005, are postponed. Thus, the vote on the future Border Carbon Adjustment Mechanism was delayed ( CBAM) to protect certain European industries from lower environmental standards in third countries, and that of the Social Climate Fund, which planned to use part of the CO2 revenue to help vulnerable households in the energy transition, reports Efe.

Parliament’s rules of procedure provide for the possibility, at the request of a political group or of deputies who reach at least the minimum threshold, to return a file to committee for further study.

The Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) will debate the matter in a forthcoming session, in order to find a way out of the files, on which Parliament’s first reading remains open. Once a compromise has been reached in committee, the full House will make its decision on the legislation.

The Council of the EU (the Governments) plans to establish the negotiating position of the Member States in the Council of Ministers of Energy and Environment that will be held in Luxembourg at the end of June.

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