Germany’s Federal Council (Bundesrat) voted to approve a ban on new combustion engine vehicles beginning in 2030. This move solidifies the opinion outlined earlier this summer to slash emissions in privately owned passenger cars. The Federal Council, which represents the nation’s federal states, approved the measure in order to cut emissions in accordance with the goals set forth in the Paris climate agreement, which Germany ratified just weeks ago. The Council has also asked the European Commission to consider implementing a ban like this across the European Union; given the long history of German policy influence, it could happen.
While German lawmakers aren’t considering any proposal that would take combustion engines off the roads, the bill would govern all new vehicle registrations from 2030 forward. This will effectively force car buyers to choose an electric or hydrogen fuel cell vehicle in order to drive legally. A host of complementary proposals are under consideration to support the effort, and the Federal Council has asked the European Commission to review its taxation policies and their role in the “stimulation of emission-free mobility.”
That could lead to additional tax breaks for buyers of green cars, or an end to tax credits for diesel cars. New registrations of diesel vehicles have already dropped in the EU as of August, according to a Forbes report, which some take as an early indication that the push toward emissions-free vehicles has more public support than realized.
In order to meet the terms of the Paris agreement, Germany must cut carbon dioxide emissions nationwide by 95 percent by 2050. Targeting the transportation industry will put a huge dent in that figure, but it’s clear much more work will be necessary in other areas (hello, energy sector) to get the job done on time.