Leading environmental organisations have called on Germany to support the text of the law to phase out sales of new combustion engine cars and vans, which the government agreed to in an EU ambassadors meeting last November. In a letter to the German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, and the Vice Chancellor, Robert Habeck, the nine organisations say the engine phase-out is absolutely necessary to align Europe’s road transport sector with Europe’s climate goals.
The letter is signed by the directors of Greenpeace European Unit, Friends of the Earth Europe, WWF European Policy Office, European Environmental Bureau, Birdlife Europe, CEE Bankwatch, Health and Environment Alliance, Naturefriends International, and Transport & Environment.
“The combustion engine phase-out is absolutely necessary to align Europe’s road transport sector with Europe’s climate goals,” the NGOs write. “Without it, the EU risks fatally undermining its own climate ambitions. Especially in the current times when the US joins China in overtaking Europe in the clean tech race, investment certainty on the future of the automotive industry in Europe is key. Yet your government is taking Europe hostage, now.”
The credibility of the EU’s democratic and legislative norms are at risk and this could create a dangerous precedent for ongoing and future negotiations, the organsiations warn. They argue that, if the energy transition is to be a success, it will require both setting clear goals and countries remaining united on European climate targets.
“At stake is not just the single most important law to tackle emissions from road transport, but the credibility of the EU’s democratic and legislative norms,” the letter states. “Reneging on a deal – negotiated by the Council and Parliament in good faith – at such a late stage in the legislative process risks creating a dangerous precedent for ongoing and future negotiations. If one government can do that, every government will feel empowered to undermine the democratic EU decision-making process.”