Confusion About How to Meet EU Automobile Emission Regulations

Spotlight Activity: Confusion About How to Meet EU Automobile Emission Regulations

The German government is about to miss out on the opportunity to meet the Paris Agreement goals owing to a failure by the Minister of Finance Olaf Scholz and Svenja Schulze to agree on the stricter limits for cars. Information from SPIEGEL states that Scholz refused to support the proposal by Schulze to reduce emissions for the passenger car fleet by 50% in 2030 compared to 2021. The labour unions have warned on the possible loss of up to 100, 000 jobs if the limits regulation is implemented. The Finance Minister Scholz is promoting plug-in hybrid cars while the Environment Minister, Schulz is for pure electric vehicles, whose climate protective effect is high. An article in the Guardian newspaper defines a plug-in hybrid vehicle as one that still uses internal combustion as its main power source, but can charge its internal battery from the mains. It represents a midway between petrol and pure battery for efficiency but has similar range to a petrol car. A pure electric car charges its battery from the mains and powers its drive chain from the battery. The amount of greenhouse gas emitted by these car models depends on the forms of mains electricity generated as shown in Table 1 below.


Environment Minister Schulz supports pure electric cars for the EU-mix because the emissions are lower compared to plug-in hybrid cars. The introduction of both vehicle types as supported by the Finance Minister Scholz would lead to higher emissions per km as shown in Table 1.

Status: Standing Still

At the moment the failure of the Finance minister to support the stricter limits for cars in the EU is a wrong move. The country is thus standing still as far as emission reductions in the car industry is concerned because the two important ministries have conflicting opinions on a very important regulation. At least, the two ministers should agree on renewable energy as the source of electricity for their mains. Climate protectionists should fight internal combustion engine cars with the same energy as they do for diesel cars. This is because allowing such cars to continue being used is a threat to meeting the Paris Agreement goals set for 2030 to 2050s in the transport sector.

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