Calls for EU to phase out fossil fuelled vehicles

On Friday, Denmark, along with 10 other EU countries called for the EU to phase out the sale of diesel and petrol cars to combat climate change. The strategy would involve banning sales on a national level by 2030, and was proposed to EU environment ministers.

The EU’s current target is to cut carbon emissions by 40% by 2030. The commission also plans to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. So, as transport is the only sector that still has growing emissions, Denmark argued that this sector needs to decrease its emissions.

In October 2018, Denmark’s government announced that it wanted to ban fossil fuel powered cars by 2030. Later, however, it had to scrap the idea as it would have breached EU rules.

Danish Climate and Energy Minister Dan Jorgensen said that, in allowing countries to impose bans on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars, the commission would be pressured into a complete phase out of fossil fuelled vehicles in the next few decades.

He added that if the EU wouldn’t introduce a ban across the bloc, then at least individual countries should be allowed to. Several member states have said they will be supporting Denmark’s proposals to allow bans.

He said: “We need to acknowledge that we are in a bit of a hurry. Plan A would be to make it a European ban. Then I think others will follow.”

So far, a number of EU countries including Lithuania, Latvia, Slovenia, and Bulgaria have also suggested that action needs to be taken to stop “carbon leakage” – selling second-hand cars from Western Europe in the eastern region.

There have also been calls for the EU to take action in cutting emissions from ships. The European Science Advisory Council (EASAC) has been working on ways to deal with growing emissions as part of the “clean maritime plan”, and new targets have been set in order to do this.

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