EU member states are delaying the adoption of new carbon dioxide emissions standards for cars and vans due to opposition from Germany and conservative lawmakers, the president of the EU Council of Ministers said on Friday.
The vote, originally scheduled for next week, will take place at a “later council meeting”, according to the Swede, who holds the EU Council presidency, on an undisclosed date.
Germany’s transport minister said this week his country would not support a proposed European Union proposal to ban the sale of new cars with internal combustion engines from 2035. He wants the EU’s executive body to guarantee an exemption for synthetic fuels.
The largest conservative group in the European Parliament, the European People’s Party (EPP), also opposed the ban and called on member states to do the same.
“The ban will stifle innovation and lead to the loss of thousands of jobs, and will lead to the decline of core European industries,” said Jens Gieseke, chief negotiator for the EPP group’s planned regulation.
EU lawmakers and member states reached a preliminary deal last year that would force automakers to cut emissions from new cars by 55% in 2030 relative to 2021 levels and by 100% in 2035.
The plan, part of the EU’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, effectively means banning the sale of new cars that burn hydrocarbon fuels such as oil.
Some countries, including Germany, have asked the European Commission to grant exemptions for cars that burn so-called e-fuels.
Such fuels, they argue, can be produced using renewable energy and carbon captured from the air so they don’t spew more climate-changing emissions into the atmosphere.
German Transport Minister Volker Wissing said the European Commission had not made a recommendation on the required exemption, so Germany would not support the ban.
Mr Gieseke said the legislation should be complemented by a credit scheme for synthetic fuels.
“We support an ambitious reduction of CO2 emissions in transport, but we need to remain technology neutral and not ban internal combustion engines entirely.
“The world will continue to drive cars with combustion engines. Our task should be to make them as CO2-efficient as possible, not ban them. E-fuels can help with that,” Mr Gieseke said.