The European Parliament and Council reached an agreement that effectively bans all sales of fossil fuel cars and vans by 2035, the bloc’s latest step towards zero emissions. The decision comes just days before global climate negotiations are set to begin at Sharm El Sheikh’s COP27,

No fossil fuel cars and vans will be sold in the European Union after 2035. The decision was announced late on Thursday, as representatives of the European Parliament and European Council struck the deal.

The new legislation’s intermediary goal sees a 55% reduction in CO2 emissions for new cars and 50% for new vans by 2030 compared to 2021 levels. By 2035, all sales of new combustion engine cars will be prohibited, resulting in a 100% cut in emissions.

The transportation sector accounts for 30% of the EU’s total greenhouse gas emissions and almost two-thirds of oil used in the bloc, according to data from the European Environment Agency (EEA). This is also the only sector to have experienced a rise in emissions in the past 30 years, nearly 33.5% between 1990 and 2019.

The agreement marks the first step in adopting the ‘Fit for 55’ legislative proposal advanced by the European Commission last year – the EU’s plan for green transition that aims to bring legislation in line with the 55% reduction goal by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. It is also a clear demonstration of the EU’s climate commitments ahead of COP27, set to begin this week in Egypt. 

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“The agreement sends a strong signal to industry and consumers: Europe is embracing the shift to zero-emission mobility.”, said Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal, in a statement.

The European Union is effectively the world’s first (and for now only) region to go all-electric. Similar legislations were recently adopted by California and the State of New York, as both US states announced that they will ban the sales of gas-powered cars by 2035. 

“This extremely far-reaching decision is without precedent,” said Oliver Zipse, the CEO of BMW and chair of the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association, adding that the European automobile industry “is up to the challenge of providing these zero-emission cars and vans.”

But promoting the sales of electric vehicles won’t be enough. If the European Union hopes to successfully electrify the sector, it will have to invest heavily in renewable energy, guarantee access to raw materials, and, most importantly, build an efficient charging infrastructure network, which the bloc is still lacking.

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