Climate protection is not free: new EU plan for CO2 target | free press


Brussels (CvA) – No more new petrol and diesel cars, a tax on aviation and marine fuels and higher costs for heating with coal, natural gas or oil: the European Commission wants to ensure that the European climate protection goals are met with a comprehensive plan.

Essentially, it wants to make fossil fuel consumption more expensive to accelerate the transition to climate-friendly technologies. The car industry must also impose even stricter CO2 limits – by 2035 only zero-emission cars may be registered in the EU.

Apart from that, consumers have to consider higher costs for using conventional petrol and diesel vehicles and heating. The Brussels government wants to create a separate emissions trading system for road traffic and the construction sector, making CO2 emissions from these zones taxable. Intra-European flights and cruises may become more expensive due to new energy taxes. In order not to leave low-income people alone with rising energy and transport costs, a social climate fund should be established.

“The fossil fuel economy is reaching its limits,” said Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, when presenting the plans. The challenge now is to combine emissions reductions with conservation measures and to put employment and social balance at the heart of the transformation.

“Fit for 55”

All of the proposed measures should enable EU countries to reduce greenhouse gases by at least 55 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. That is why the package is also referred to as “Fit for 55” by the Commission. The EU’s long-term goal is to have no more climate-damaging gases in the atmosphere by 2050. In this way, man-made climate change and its consequences must be stopped. Scientists see global warming as a reason for rising sea levels and weather-related natural disasters such as cyclones, floods and wildfires.

For the car industry, the European Commission specifically proposes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from new vehicles by 55 percent by 2030 compared to 2021. If manufacturers do not comply with the specifications, fines must be paid. From 2035, only zero-emission new vehicles may be registered in the EU. There should be a review clause. That is why it is necessary to analyze the progress of the manufacturers every two years; A major test report will follow in 2028. In theory, the 2035 date could still be postponed.

Major traffic change planned

For a change in the transport sector, charging points for electric cars will be installed every 60 kilometers on the major highways in the EU. The Commission estimates the investment costs for the charging infrastructure at a total of 15 billion euros. Hydrogen filling stations will be installed every 150 kilometers. The European Commission also said that even if you currently assume a poor energy mix, an electric car has lower emissions than a traditional combustion engine.

In order not to put European industry at a disadvantage on the global market, the aim is to protect European producers of products such as steel, aluminum, fertilizer and electricity from foreign competition with less stringent climate protection requirements through a so-called border adjustment mechanism. It provides for the introduction of a CO2 tax on the import of these goods.

Member States and the European Parliament must now discuss the implementation of the proposals. From the point of view of the European Commission, speed is essential to give industry and consumers as much time as possible for the changes and reductions. “This is the most important decade in the fight against the climate and biodiversity crisis,” said Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans.

Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze announced that Germany will get to work quickly. The federal government will now study the proposals of the EU commission thoroughly, but also quickly and constructively, according to the SPD politician. It is nothing less than a “new industrial revolution, led by the European Union”.