EU agrees on ban on new fossil-fuel cars

The environment ministers of the EU member states have agreed that as of 2035 all newly registered vehicles must be emissions-free. Contrary to the original plan for a strict ban on combustion engines, vehicles that use so-called carbon-neutral fuels will be exempted. The FDP, as coalition partner in the German government, had pushed for the exemption. Is this the right decision?

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Berliner Zeitung (DE) /

Berlin hitting the brakes

Berliner Zeitung is annoyed that Germany of all countries blocked a clearer resolution:

“This is shifting into reverse. Because the path to a more climate-neutral future can only mean that politics and business confront change and deal with it constructively instead of trying to stop it at all costs. And that can only be achieved with a clear commitment, not with humming, hawing and maybes. Even most car manufacturers have long understood that it's no longer worth investing in diesel and petrol engines. For that reason the signal coming out of Germany is rather dire. Shifting up a gear would have been much better.”

Kurier (AT) /

E-fuels a waste of energy

Kurier is annoyed that the concept of supposedly climate-neutral fuels was included in the compromise:

“E-fuels are fuels made from green hydrogen or from plants (despite the current dramatic global food shortages!). They are currently utopian. ... The question remains as to where the gigantic amounts of green electricity needed for this are to come from. Because e-fuels are real energy guzzlers.”

Les Echos (FR) /

EU should make more fact-based decisions

The business paper Les Echos criticises a lack of realism:

“We would like to see Brussels' decisions consistently based on facts and figures, rather than on often distorted ideological goals and visions. ... One can defend the merits of e-cars, nevertheless we would have liked to know whether a massive switch is feasible by 2035. Will we have the necessary raw materials and charging stations? Has anyone looked at the conditions under which batteries are produced? ... Not to mention the social and economic impact of decisions we impose on our manufacturers, but which do not affect their international competitors.”