Europe must end diesel car sales by 2030 to deliver Paris Agreement

Europe’s automotive sector must phase out the sale of new diesel and petrol cars by 2030 if it is to contribute what is needed to limit global warming to 1.5˚C.


That is according to a new report from the German Aerospace Center, which warns that “stark measures” must be taken for the industry to even have a 66% of staying within its carbon budget to help deliver the Paris Agreement.

This would involve “revolutionising” the new vehicle market to electric mobility, with the number of new petrol or diesel sales dropping from 15 million to around 5 million by 2025.

The last vehicle with an internal combustion engine would have to be sold in 2028, with the market declining 50% by 2022, while plug-in hybrids would also have to disappear from sale by 2035 at the latest.

“The speed of the transition is the crucial point,” said Rosie Rogers, clean air campaigner at Greenpeace, which commissioned the report.

“Road transport is one of the few EU sectors where CO2 emissions continue to grow – it’s clear most car makers and policy makers are still at least a decade short of meaningful action to clean up our roads.”

The European parliament is currently considering proposals for revised CO2 standards for new cars and vans, which would see emissions be cut 15% by 2025, and 30% by 2030, compared to their 2021 limits.

In the UK, sales of new petrol and diesel cars are set to be banned by 2040, while many other countries have opted for much earlier phase-out dates, including Ireland, Norway and the Netherlands.

The Greenpeace report comes after a survey from law firm Slater and Gorton found more than half of British motorists believe diesel cars should be banned from UK roads following the Volkswagen emissions scandal in 2015.

Almost one-third of drivers want a ban on all roads, a further quarter want restrictions in built-up areas and city centres, while a whopping four in five would like to see exclusion zones near schools and hospitals.

“Diesel cars have been fuelling a major air pollution crisis that has made our cities' air toxic and harmful to breathe,” Greenpeace clean air campaigner, Morten Thaysen, said.

“We need a rapid switch to electric by the car industry to help clean up our air and protect our climate.”


Image credit: iStock


Chris Seekings is a reporter for TRANSFORM

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