The European Union’s executive body, the European Commission, presented the Fit for 55 package on July 14, 2021. Under the proposal, member states of the European Union would be responsible for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 55 percent by 2030 (compared to 1990 levels) before reaching climate neutrality in 2050.
The plan does more than just point the way, though, it provides a roadmap to a greener future. Regulators expect manufacturers to reduce CO2 emissions for cars by 55 percent and vans by 50 percent by that 2030 deadline. Just five years later, in 2035, the package calls for a 100-percent reduction in CO2 emissions by both cars and vans, effectively banning internal combustion vehicles.
Not all member states were eager to adopt the new timeline, however. Supported by Portugal, Bulgaria, Romania, and Slovakia, Italy appealed for a five-year extension on the 2035 ban. The protesting parties claimed that a 2040 deadline would allow businesses and governments to implement more alternative fuel infrastructures, further develop battery production, and increase incentive measures.
Apparently, that argument didn’t sway the committee, as the European Council of Ministers rejected the group’s postponement request. Germany, on the other hand, scored a victory when the Council accepted its bid to include synthetic fuels and rechargeable hybrids as feasible options. However, all vehicles, regardless of fuel source, will still need to eliminate all CO2 emissions come 2035.
The only exception goes to manufacturers that produce less than 10,000 vehicles per year, such as supercar brands like Ferrari. The Commission will assess the Fit for 55 progress in 2026, with plans to end zero- and low-emission vehicles incentives program in 2030. The European Council hopes to finalize the proposal with the European Parliament in the coming months.
“An agreement between the Member States on the "Adjustment to target 55" package is a crucial step in achieving our climate objectives in the most important sectors of the economy,” stated French Minister for Energy Transition Agnès Pannier-Runacher.
“The ecological and energy transition will require the contribution of all sectors and all Member States, in a fair and inclusive way. The Council is now ready to negotiate with the European Parliament to conclude this package, putting the European Union more than ever at the forefront of the climate fight.”